Intelligence officials withheld sensitive information from Trump while he was in office because they feared the 'damage' he could do if he knew: report




Donald Trump speaking
Donald Trump speaking  
  • A former CIA official said US intelligence purposely withheld some information from Donald Trump.

  • "We certainly took into account 'what damage could he do if he blurts this out?'" Douglas London told the New York Times.

  • Trump's rocky relationship with his own intelligence officials has been widely documented.

Intelligence officials sometimes purposely withheld information from former President Donald Trump out of fear of the "damage" he'd do if he knew, according to a report from the New York Times.

Douglas London, who was a top CIA counterterrorism official during the Trump administration, told the Times that intelligence aides were cautious about the kind of information they'd share with the former president.

"We certainly took into account 'what damage could he do if he blurts this out?'" he said.

While in office, Trump has shared classified information with the public multiple times.

He, for example, had been briefed in August 2019 of an explosion at an Iranian space facility, and he wanted to post a satellite image shown to him on his personal Twitter account. Aides pushed back against the move, arguing it might give insight into US surveillance capabilities. But he posted it to his account anyway.

"We had a photo and I released it, which I have the absolute right to do," Trump said at the time.

Former CIA clandestine-services officer John Sipher told Insider that the release of the image was "consistent with his disdain for foreign policy and intelligence expertise."

"If he sees an immediate personal or political benefit, he does not feel any need to follow rules, regulations, protocol, or even laws," Sipher said.

Trump's rocky relationship with his own intelligence officials has been widely documented.

Insider's Michelle Mark reported, for example, that Trump didn't like to read through the intelligence reports and frequently ignored anything he heard that he disagreed with. He also didn't focus on the topic at hand during intelligence briefings.

A former intelligence officer detailed in a book how difficult it was to work with Trump, who during his presidency replaced longtime intelligence aides with loyalists and disputed intelligence from his own officials.

"For the Intelligence Community, the Trump transition was far and away the most difficult in its historical experience with briefing new presidents," former intelligence officer John L. Helgerson wrote in a book published by the CIA.

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