Donald Trump has proven to be a man determined to dictate what’s fact or fiction based on how the information makes him look.
Recently, when confronted by the consensus assessment from multiple U.S. intelligence agencies stating that Russia was responsible for cyberattacks on U.S. computers with the goal of influencing the election in his favor, Trump flatly refused to believe it. And he has, so far, offered little in the way of explanation for his skepticism other than noting that U.S. intelligence was wrong about Iraq.
Trump has also reportedly refused to attend or read daily intel briefings, stating that he’s “like, a smart person” who simply doesn’t need them.
However, at least one former GOP lawmaker says that Trump doesn’t necessarily need to listen to U.S. intelligence agencies and that he could find alternate sources of “reliable” intel. During an appearance on CNN, the former head of the House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), astounded host Jim Sciutto by suggesting that U.S. intelligence agencies provide “biased information” and asserted that Trump would be well suited to rely on information from foreign intelligence agencies.
Hoekstra said that by ignoring the joint assessment by the U.S. intelligence community regarding the Russians’ involvement in hacking the 2016 election, Trump is sending a strong message to those agencies:
I think what Donald Trump is doing, is Donald Trump is putting the intelligence community on notice. That he expects them to deliver quality information in an unbiased format so that he will be equipped to make the best decisions possible as Commander in Chief. Sending that signal to the intelligence community is absolutely fine.
A befuddled Sciutto asked, “How will he judge when it’s quality? When it’s quality intelligence? What will be his basis of deciding that?”
“I think one of the things he’ll do is go out and get information from a number of different sources,” Hoekstra replied.
“Outside the intelligence community?” queried Sciutto.
The unabashed former Republican lawmaker replied flatly:
I think so, absolutely. One of the things that I have found since I’ve left the intelligence community and left Congress is the number of other places that you can go and get very good information — and I did this when I was in Congress as well, as when I was on the intelligence committee.
Still not believing his ears, Scuitto once again attempted to gain better clarification. He asked, “So you’re saying the president of the United States should take the intelligence assessments of another country’s intelligence agencies over his own?”
This time Hoekstra was more defensive but maintained that it was entirely reasonable for the president to keep U.S. intelligence honest by making them compete with foreign intelligence agencies. He countered:
No, I didn’t say that at all. What I’m saying is that he has other places that he can get intelligence from that he can use to test the quality and the accuracy of the information that he is getting from his own intelligence community. On the Intelligence Committee, I can tell you, I got intelligence frequently from other countries. It may have come through the intelligence community or it may have come through from other places that I could use to test the validity of the information that I was getting from the U.S. intelligence community. There’s nothing wrong with that. That information, some of it comes in classified, some of it does not. But there’s no reason why you have to accept at face value everything that you get from our intelligence community.
Political hacks like Hoekstra continue to find ways to justify Trump’s willful ignorance at the expense of American national security. Should Trump decide to take his advice, how long would it take for foreign governments to start sending the U.S. compromised intel that suits their agenda? It’s absolute insanity that this is even a topic of discussion.
But then again, so is discussing the inevitability of Donald Trump becoming the next President of the United States of America.
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