Former DNI official: Trump had 'no foundation or framework to understand limits of intelligence' matters




  • In Business
  • 2019-12-04 00:03:45Z
  • By USA TODAY
Former DNI official: Trump had \
Former DNI official: Trump had \'no foundation or framework to understand limits of intelligence\' matters  

WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump displayed "no foundation or framework to understand the limits of intelligence" during regular security briefings at the White House, a former top intelligence official said Tuesday.

Susan Gordon, who resigned earlier this year as principal deputy director of National Intelligence after being passed over for the top spot, likened Trump to a different kind of athlete suddenly inserted into a pickup basketball game.

"Everyone else knows how the game moves and plays and you have one person that comes in and… is just so different," Gordon said in wide-ranging remarks at a Women's Foreign Policy Group gathering,

Gordon said the president's lack of experience with such information set him apart from other chief executives she has briefed.

"He asked different questions…he had different trusts," Gordon said. "He is different because he is much more economic in the way that he sees the world, and the intelligence community is much more political, military-- purposely so. And so we were scrambling a bit to try and produce intelligence that was... useful for someone who is interested in making trades and deals."

Gordon, who was in line for the top intelligence job following the departure of Dan Coats, resigned in August after learning that the president sought to bypass her elevation.

The president has frequently clashed with his intelligence officials, including Coats. Among other issues, Trump has questioned intelligence assessments that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to his benefit.

Clashing with Trump: Top intelligence official Dan Coats is leaving after tenure marked by clashes with Donald Trump

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Democrat and Republican lawmakers lamented Gordon's departure, saying that the president and the country were losing a valuable asset.

"President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he is seemingly incapable of hearing facts that contradict his own views," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said at the time.

The Republican chairman of that committee, North Carolina's Richard Burr, had recommended Gordon be considered for the job.

"Sue Gordon's retirement is a significant loss for our Intelligence Community," Burr said then. "I will miss her candor and deep knowledge of the issues."

On Tuesday, Gordon appeared upbeat, even thankful for the time she served in government despite her "complicated" departure.

She described the president as "actually kind of a fun brief because he was interactive; he would challenge you."

"You can't wish that the (intelligence) recipient were different from where they were," she said. "Your challenge is to present it in a way that it can be heard."

She did, however, address recent assertions by some Republicans that Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 election, along with Russia.

Gordon said that "nothing" has emerged since the Intelligence Community publicly blamed Russia more than two years ago for the interference to change that determination.

She called the Intelligence Community's conclusions an "exceptional piece of analysis" that still stands.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ex-DNI official: Trump had 'no foundation' for intel matters

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