U.S. intelligence chiefs reportedly want to scrap their public global threat testimony to avoid angering Trump

Peter Weber

The U.S. director of national intelligence and the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other intelligence agencies testify each year on the global threats facing the U.S., with a part of the hearing in public and the other part behind closed doors. This year, Politico reports, "the U.S. intelligence community is trying to persuade House and Senate lawmakers to drop the public portion" of the Worldwide Threat briefing so agency chiefs can't "be seen on-camera as disagreeing with the president on big issues such as Iran, Russia, or North Korea," as happened last year, provoking "an angry outburst" from President Trump.

Lawmakers, especially in the Senate, are expected to reject the request, so far broached only through staff-level channels. The intelligence community has rejected the House Intelligence Committee's invitation for public global threats testimony for the past two years, and "a third refusal could cause tensions between the two sides to boil over," Politico says. On the other hand, at the Senate's hearing last year, the agency chiefs presented intelligence on ISIS, Iran, and North Korea's nuclear ambitions that didn't mesh with Trump's statements, and Trump "blistered them on Twitter" as "passive" and "naive."

"Trump later claimed his top intelligence chiefs, including then-DNI Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel, told him that they had been misquoted in the press — even though their remarks had been broadcast and the video footage was publicly available," Politico recalls. Coats stepped down in August and the current DNI, Joseph Maguire, has been doing the job for five months in an acting capacity. You can read more at Politico.

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