President-elect Donald Trump is once again causing folks in the government to get shaky legs after announcing his pick for director of national intelligence and what seems to be a restructuring of the intelligence community as a whole.
The alleged plan in question is said to have been inspired mostly by the hoopla surrounding the whole Russian hack situation, although there are currently conflicting reports floating around about whether or not Trump is actually going to restructure the intelligence community.
As you might imagine, the folks who work in these agencies are none too happy about the possibility of these changes taking place.
According to CBS News, Donald Trump has picked former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats to be director of national intelligence, CBS News’ Arden Farhi reports, citing a senior transition official.
Coats’ name has been floating for weeks (which has not always turned out well for potential appointees).CBS News’ Major Garrett had reported that Mr. Trump was also seriously considering cutting back the DNI. However on Thursday, Trump transition spokesman Sean Spicer said “all discussions are tentative” and went on to say, “there is no truth to this idea of restructuring the intelligence community infrastructure. It is 100 percent false.” Hear are some further details involving the whole restructuring business.
Current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials have reacted with a mix of bafflement and outrage to Mr. Trump’s continuing series of jabs at U.S. spies.
“They are furious about it,” said one former senior intelligence official, adding that a retinue of senior officials who thought they would be staying on in a Hillary Clinton administration now are re-evaluating their plans following Mr. Trump’s election.
Current and former officials said it was particularly striking to see Mr. Trump quote Mr. Assange in tweets.
“It’s pretty horrifying to me that he’s siding with Assange over the intelligence agencies,” one former law-enforcement official said.
Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA who retired in 2005, said he was disturbed by Mr. Trump’s tweets and feared much of the intelligence community’s assessments could be filtered through Gen. Flynn.
“I’m rather pessimistic,” he said. “This is indeed disturbing that the president should come in with this negative view of the agencies, coupled with his habits on how he absorbs information and so on that don’t provide a lot of hope for change.”
Whether or not Trump is about to shake things up in the intelligence community, it’s hard to deny that we could certainly use some upgrades in this particular area, in both personnel and technology.
With many of the cyberattacks that have taken place over the last several years combined with several terrorist attacks on our own soil, it’s easy to see why Trump might be skeptical of the work being produced by the CIA.
It will be interesting to see how this all develops further over the next several weeks.
[Note: This article was written by Michael Cantrell]