Former chair of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers underscored the importance of mutual respect between the incoming Donald Trump administration and the intelligence community, notting “there are more Russian spies in the United States today than at the height of the Cold War.”
“He’s going to need the CIA, and the CIA’s going to need him,” Rogers told host Jim Sciutto on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” Wednesday.
Roger argued he doesn’t mean blindly accepting everything the intel community has to offer, noting the agencies “thrive on pushback” and should always seek a “dissenting voice.” But, he said if the president-elect doesn’t start listening to officials, “you’re going to get yourself in trouble.”
Rogers said the first step is for Trump to “get the full brief,” which the president-elect is scheduled to receive Friday. “He needs to understand the complete picture of what Russian activities are, not just in this case but around the world.”
“There are more Russian spies in the United States today than at the height of the Cold War,” he said. “They’re playing this game for serious and for keeps, and they want to win. And they don’t care about Donald Trump any more than they cared about Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, they don’t care. Their interests are Russian interests.”
Rogers also said Trump should avoid “a big public fight from an agency that should not be heard of all that often.”
“My recommendation to Donald Trump, president-elect, would be: you won the race. Put that behind you,” Rogers said. “You have serious national security issues facing the country—some like I’ve never seen before. When you look at the threat matrix, they’re big and they’re serious. You need all of your intelligence services, all of your 16, plus the DNI, plus the military working for your end, your end game. Whatever you decide that is.”
“They may not give you the picture that you want, but that’s what leadership is,” he added.
Rogers noted on January 21 the intelligence agencies “will be his.”
“If they’re going to be effective, they need to know that when they’re risking their life somewhere overseas, that they have the President of the United States standing behind them,” Rogers said.
Watch the video below, via CNN: