Former covert CIA agent J.C. Carleson has predicted that President-elect Donald Trump’s disdain for intelligence collected by the the agency will mean that foreign assets eventually refuse to help the United States.
In a column for Fortune this week, the spy-turned-author reacts to reports that Trump is refusing to participate in daily intelligence briefings, which she concedes are not as exciting as “Breitbart headlines” that “create lurid stories out of thin air.”
“I fear that Trump’s rejection of both the content and the conclusions offered to him by the intelligence community will have a profound chilling effect on the recruitment of new assets, and the willingness of existing assets to continue to provide information,” Carleson writes. “Because, why should someone risk his or her life to provide sensitive information that the world now knows will go unread in our highest office?”
According to the former CIA official, Trump’s disregard for human intelligence has “consequences beyond Trump’s own dearth of information, because once again, it serves to erode the motivation of those who might provide us with information we desperately need—information that may include details of threats to American lives and infrastructure, for example.”
“The world knows that, in the incoming administration, facts will be ignored, and reasoned analysis will be rejected,” she writes. “On an individual level, the why determines the what, and without the motivation of knowing that their sacrifices will ultimately make a difference, CIA sources may choose, in Trump’s parlance, to walk away from the deal.”