Those who feared that Vice President-Elect Mike Pence would actually be the one running the country have another story they’re talking about Wednesday.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that President-Elect Donald Trump has been denying the analysts tasked with giving him the top secret intelligence briefing every day. The briefings are to give the president and president-elect an update on global security threats and developments. The document is designed to give a summary of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies to update the president on covert programs being run overseas by the CIA.
Trump hasn’t been updated more than twice since he won the election over two weeks ago. Pence has received a briefing almost every day.
Officials in the Trump transition maintain that he’s been too busy working on forming his administration to concern himself with global security threats.
However, The Post claims “others have interpreted Trump’s limited engagement with his briefing team as an additional sign of indifference.” They also noted that Trump’s lack of national security experience and the dismissiveness he has treated the intelligence analysts is concerning.
A senior U.S. official that receives the same briefing President Barack Obama gets each day told The Post that Trump has a lot of catching up to do over the course of the last two weeks. Amid the latest ISIS truck attack, security has been stepped up considerably at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
President George W. Bush didn’t receive his first briefing until Dec. 5 because of the Florida recount but made it a top priority. President Bill Clinton got his first briefing Nov. 13, just 10 days after the election and for every day during the transition. President Obama went beyond the daily briefings and instead scheduled “deep dives” on key issues, including Iran’s nuclear program, the CIA’s covert operations and the drone programs in Pakistan.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA.) told The Post that Trump considers national security a top priority. “Look how many leaders he’s met with, how many phone calls he’s done, positions he’s filled. People who are being critical need to get a life,” he said.
Trump had his first initial briefing just days following his victory. He also sat down with U.S. intelligence analysts Tuesday in New York before he left for Florida.
While every president is different in how they approach the delivery or time they want their briefing. However, no president-elect in history has had so few briefings at this stage in the transition.
“The last three presidents-elect used the intelligence briefings offered during the transition to literally study the national security issues that they would be facing and the world leaders with whom they would be interacting as president,” former deputy CIA director, Michael Morell told The Post.
“The president-elect is missing out on a golden opportunity to learn about the national security threats and challenges facing our nation,” Morell said, “knowledge that would be extremely valuable to have when he takes the oath of office and when he steps into the Situation Room for the first time.”
During the election, Trump was quoted saying, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.”