Intelligence Agencies: President Trump Is, Um, a Wee Bit Misguided

The Straits Times/ZUMA

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President Trump’s own intelligence officials are publicly saying that he’s a moron:

A new American intelligence assessment of global threats has concluded that North Korea is “unlikely to give up” all of its nuclear stockpiles, and that Iran is not “currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activity” needed to make a bomb, directly contradicting two top tenets of President Trump’s foreign policy. Daniel R. Coats, the director of national intelligence, also challenged Mr. Trump’s insistence that the Islamic State had been defeated, a key rationale for his decision to exit from Syria.

….Mr. Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that “we currently assess North Korea will seek to retain its W.M.D. capability and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capability….Its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival,” Mr. Coats said.

OK, OK, Coats didn’t call Trump a moron. And intelligence agencies are often more hawkish than civilians in the White House or the State Department. Still, it’s a little unusual for the intelligence community to publicly say the president is mistaken on not one, not two, but three separate major issues. But wait, there’s more:

Perhaps the strongest rebuke of Mr. Trump’s security priorities comes in what is missing from the report: Any rationale for building a wall along the southwest border, which Mr. Trump has advertised as among the most critical security threats facing the United States. The first mention of Mexico and drug cartels comes on page 18 of the 42-page assessment, well after a range of other, more pressing threats are reviewed. Most pressing, as it has been for the past five years, are cybersecurity threats to the United States. For the first time, the report concluded that China is now positioned to conduct effective cyberattacks against American infrastructure, and specifically cited Beijing’s ability to cut off natural gas pipelines, at least briefly.

Keep in mind that the heads of the intelligence agencies are all Trump appointees. And apparently they all agree that he’s an idiot.

The full report is here.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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