President Trump intensified his feud with his own senior intelligence community leaders today during an interview on CBS‘ Face The Nation, presumptuously declaiming his executive powers by saying that he doesn’t “have to agree” with their national security threat assessments.
In a comment that could be likened to a homeowner saying that he doesn’t agree with the fire inspector that that pile of old rags and leaky cans of kerosene piled in the corner of the garage is a fire hazard, Trump exemplified the danger that he poses to America’s national security as he pursues an agenda seemingly copied from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Christmas list to Santa.
Trump was particularly determined to ridicule his intelligence chiefs’ interpretation of the threats the U.S. faces from Iran and the Islamic State as he amplified the accusations he made in a tweet earlier this week when he called them “naive” and that they needed to go back to school.
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“You have the caliphate almost knocked out,” he said. “We will be announcing in the not too distant future 100 percent of the caliphate, which is the area — the land — the area, 100. We’re at 99 percent right now, we’ll be at 100,” Trump declared in discussing ISIS, contradicting his intelligence agencies’ opinion that the Islamic State still posed a significant threat as a an underground guerilla organization much like al-Qaeda.
Trump undermined the credibility of the intelligence professional, deferring again to his own considerable and completely uninformed gut as the ultimate source of the truth in any foreign policy decision.
“My intelligence people, if they said in fact that Iran is a wonderful kindergarten, I disagree with them 100 percent. It is a vicious country that kills many people,” he claimed.
While no one at any of the intelligence agencies has described Iran in this manner to our knowledge, they have confirmed that Iran has continued to comply with the terms of the nuclear deal that it has maintained with the European Union, China, and Russia despite Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. participation, much to Trump’s consternation.
With multiple questions abounding about the influence of Saudi Arabia — a fierce regional rival of Iran in the Middle East — on the Trump foreign policy agenda due to the financial ties between the administration and the Sunni Muslim Saudi royal family, the president’s antipathy towards Shiite-led Iran may be based more on his personal agenda than on American national security interests.
What other reason could motivate the U.S. president to reject the findings of intelligence professionals with decades of experience over his own personal and fact-free opinions?
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Original reporting by David Edwards at RawStory.