Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified on Capitol Hill On Tuesday and drew the ire of Fox Business Network‘s Lou Dobbs for his “frequent” contradiction of President Donald Trump on national security issues.
Dobbs pointed out that Coates, who went before the Senate Intelligence Committee to share his agency’s latest threat assessment, warned that North Korea is not likely to give up its nuclear weapons and said that Iran is not trying to develop a nuclear weapon.
Coats told the Intel panel: “We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.”
“Despite all of the intelligence that we’ve heard for the past 10 years,” Dobbs said.
“And, for whatever reason, he also warned ISIS is far from being defeated and an attack against the United States, in his assessment, is not only possible but likely,” he added.
An avid supporter of President Trump, Dobbs turned to Fred Fleitz, who served as John Bolton’s National Security Council chief of staff, to explain “outrageous claims” that he characterized as “a contravention by the DNI of the President of the United States.”
“I was in the National Security Council, I worked for John Bolton, I saw intelligence, that’s just not my conclusion,” Fleitz said of the assessment that Iran isn’t pursuing nuclear weapons. “I received the president’s Daily Brief.”
He then called on Trump to cancel all future unclassified briefings “that undermine the president and tells our adversaries our analysis of them.”
The president responded to Coats testimony Wednesday morning in a pair of tweets, saying the “naive” intelligence community is “wrong” on Iran, who he said was just “testing rockets (last week).”
“Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” Trump added.
“What the hell is wrong with the DNI?” Dobbs asked. “He has no political judgment, no sense of proportion. I mean what in the hell is he talking about?”
“I want to understand what he’s thinking, and why he should be tolerated,” he implored.
Fleitz responded by calling for Coats’ head — figuratively speaking.
“I would let him go because of this and I thought this for some time,” he insisted. “I think Mr. Coats is a great guy — but intelligence is to inform presidential policy, it’s not supposed to undermine it. It’s not supposed to second-guess presidential policy. This goes against why we set up a domestic intelligence service in the first place after World War Two.
“And this has simply evolved into a monster that is basically second-guessing the president all the time,” he continued. “And that’s why the president has to stop these worldwide threat briefings.”
After Fleitz said Coats’ assessment was to say “we think the president is going to fail,” Dobbs ripped the intelligence community for being “anti-Trump.”
“Okay, great,” he said. “Get over your bad selves, he’s the commander in chief. I mean, there’s something rancidly wrong with this intelligence community.”
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