U.S. intelligence agencies find it difficult to speak to President Donald Trump about national security threats, particularly those dealing with Russia, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
The newspaper attributed the information to current and former officials.
They say Trump’s combative relationship with the intelligence agencies has resulted in Twitter blasts from the president or private tongue-lashings from him, the newspaper noted. It has also contributed to his dismissals of senior intelligence officials.
The challenges of dealing with the president were highlighted again amid revelations about intelligence assessments that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban for attacks on U.S. troops.
Trump on Wednesday dismissed as “fake news” allegations that Russia offered the bounties. He said news stories about the allegations were made up to “damage me and the Republican Party.”
And the Journal noted that the White House said he wasn’t briefed on the intelligence because it was not verified. But the newspaper reported Republican lawmakers say it was contained in the daily intelligence brief prepared for Trump.
The president is known among intelligence officials to be sensitive to issues involving Russia, according to the newspaper.
Marc Polymeropoulos, a former CIA officer, said that when a briefer would raise issues regarding Russia, “Trump would flip out.”
“There’s probably a lot of self-censorship” in terms of what the president’s intelligence briefers raise in oral presentations, he said.
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