Trump said privately that foreign spies could damage relations with their host countries and undermine his personal relationship with their leaders, sources said. The president "believes we should not do this to each other," one of the former Trump administration officials told CNN.
In addition to fearing such sources of foreign intelligence would damage his dealings with foreign leaders, Trump expressed doubts about the accuracy of the information they provide. Another former intelligence official told CNN that Trump "believes they are the people who sell their country."
Even publicly, Trump looked at these foreign assets as they are known in the intelligence community. Responding to reports that the CIA had recruited Kim Jong Un's brother as a spy, Trump said he would "not allow this to happen under my auspices."
These new details about Trump's approach to foreign intelligence follow CNN's exclusive report that in 201
7 the US removed one of its highest hidden sources within the Russian government. CNN reported Monday that the asset provided the US with information and information about Russian President Vladimir Putin and that the extraction was prompted in part by fears that Trump and his administration had repeatedly misclassified classified information and could contribute to the spy's disclosure.
The decision to make the extraction came shortly after a meeting in May 2017 at the Oval Office, at which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak. The disclosure of information to Russians by the president was about ISIS, not the Russian spy specifically, but the incident prompted U.S. intelligence officials to resume earlier discussions about the potential risk of the spy being exposed, CNN reported.
Only last month, Trump once again demonstrated his unorthodox approach to classified material when he tweeted a picture of a failed missile launch and mocked Tehran for its military failure. The photo was at a much higher resolution than previous photos released by the US government, raising concerns that Trump may have shared a non-public photo of the classified image.
Trump's skeptical view of foreign informants undermines one of the most significant ways US intelligence agencies collect information about US adversaries, including an analysis of their capabilities and intentions. In the intelligence community, this information is referred to as "HUMINT", which is short for "human reason". This is different from the so-called Nar. "SIGINT" or "intelligence" that includes intercepted emails, phone calls, and text messages.
National security threat intelligence assessments usually depend on a combination of HUMINT, SIGINT, and other sources. This includes assessments of North Korea's expansion of its nuclear program to al-Qaeda and ISIS terror threats and the military capabilities of Russia and China.
In June, after The Wall Street Journal reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother was a CIA source, Trump said publicly that he would not allow the use of CIA informants against Kim. Throughout his presidency, Trump has pursued personal diplomacy with the North Korean despot.
"I saw information about the CIA regarding his brother or half-brother," Trump said when news of Kim Jong-un's half-brother came out in June. "And I would say (Kim Jong Un) that it would not happen under my protection, that is for sure. I would not allow it to happen under my protection."
These views are part of the deeper divide between Trump and US intelligence agencies, which he observed, which began before he took office when he compared US intelligence agents to the Nazis. In addition, he publicly and privately mocked senior intelligence officials, many of whom served in the Obama administration, but also a handful of people he appointed to head US intelligence agencies.
While in office, Trump repeatedly and publicly rejects, questions, or undermines US intelligence assessments on a number of key national security topics. This includes Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Iran's nuclear deal, and the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the horrific assassination of journalist Jamal Hashogi in 2018. in the 2016 elections The US intelligence community has come to the conclusion that Putin has put in place a comprehensive program to influence the election and help Trump's campaign. Putin denied this, and at the 2018 Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, Finland, Trump accepted the denial, saying "I see no reason why" Russia would participate.
A businessman who has no formal management or military experience, Trump may have never been exposed to high-profile information before becoming a Republican nominee in the summer of 2016 and beginning to receive intelligence briefings. His British have reportedly adopted new techniques to get his attention, such as giving presentations instead of providing large binder materials full of solid reading material.
The CIA declined comment and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.