After weeks of rumors, the Wall Street Journal seems to have confirmed that U.S. intelligence officials are deliberately withholding classified information with Trump over concerns that his inept team in the White House will leak it. This is on the heels of Trump having openly discussed highly sensitive information about North Korea missile tests in front of paying guests at Mar-a-Lago while he ate dinner.
The fear of Trump leaks has consumed America’s spy agencies:
U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.
The officials’ decision to keep information from Mr. Trump underscores the deep mistrust that has developed between the intelligence community and the president over his team’s contacts with the Russian government, as well as the enmity he has shown toward U.S. spy agencies. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump accused the agencies of leaking information to undermine him.
In an earlier report, sources in the intelligence community told reporters that there is an unspoken rule that anything the president sees is also being seen by international spies. A former analyst for the National Security Agency Jack R. Schindler admitted the situation, from an intelligence protection standpoint, is grim:
…our nation’s spies believe that “the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” otherwise known as the Situation Room, where the nation’s most protected secrets are discussed.
“There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official said.
Trump’s White House, bursting at the seams with unqualified yes-men and questionable opportunists – many with financial or personal ties to foreign governments – is leaking like a sieve. It’s been just three weeks, and already many in the administration are turning on each other. Trump, for his part, is freaking out about the leaks, taking to Twitter to bash anyone who exposes his incompetence as criminals.
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
It’s important to note that their are two distinct types of leaks happening: The one Trump is concerned about have to do with people outing corruption in his administration like the kind that led to Gen. Michael Flynn to resign for illegally speaking with the Russian government. Those leaks humiliate Trump and undermine his desire to work in the shadows.
The other kind of leaks, the one the intelligence community is concerned about, are those that will provide material aid to America’s enemies. Trump’s administration is so mismanaged that there is a real fear that any classified information they relate to Trump or his team will end up in the hands of foreign spies through incompetence or greed or malevolence.
This is, as one source told the Wall Street Journal, unprecedented in United States history. There has never been a president who is so wantonly untrustworthy that his own government agencies can’t rely on him to not undermine their jobs. But here we are:
That Mar-a-Lago member deleted his FB post with photos of Trump's team apparently reading North Korea docs by iPhone flashlight. Screenshot: pic.twitter.com/JSBukvlP0Z
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) February 13, 2017
Featured image via Isaac Brekken/Getty Images