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President Joe Biden has endorsed the idea of revoking former President Donald Trump’s access to intelligence briefings, though he hasn’t moved on it yet.
The idea first emerged last month when the likes of former Principal Executive of National Intelligence Susan M. Gordon and current House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff began calling for it. At the time, the Biden administration vowed to look into it.
During an interview this week with CBS News, the president himself was asked bluntly, “Should former President Trump still receive intelligence briefings.”
“I think not,” Biden pithily replied.
Asked to clarify “why not,” he said it’s “because of [Trump’s] erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection.”
This prompted CBS News host Nora O’Donnell to point out all the names that Biden has called the former president.
“You’ve called him an existential threat. You’ve called him dangerous. You’ve called him reckless,” she said.
“Yeah, I have, and I believe it,” the president replied.
“What’s your worst fear if he continues to get these intelligence briefings?” O’Donnell then asked.
“I’d rather not speculate out loud. I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefing. What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?” Biden responded.
The irony is that during Trump’s presidency, it wasn’t him who kept revealing classified information to the public — it was his enemies in the Democrat Party and the media.
Last year then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe was forced to drastically scale-back election security briefings to Congress specifically because Democrats were turning around and leaking that intelligence to the media “within minutes.”
“Within minutes of one of those briefings ending, a number of members of Congress went to a number of different outlets and leaked classified information for political purposes,” he remarked at the time on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“To create a narrative that simply isn’t true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China,” Ratcliffe explained.
“So I’m going to continue to keep the promises that I made, I’m going to continue to follow the law, I’m going to continue to keep Congress informed, but we’ve had a pandemic of information being leaked out of the intelligence community, and I’m going to take the measures to make sure that stops.”
Unfortunately, the sorts of leaks he referenced came to define Trump’s presidency.
Speaking on the matter during a briefing last summer, then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tried for the umpteenth time to explain to Democrats and their media allies how damaging these leaks happened to be.
“According to the DOJ, classified leaks surged in this administration. There were under President Obama just 39, on average, criminal leak referrals. In this administration, we have seen 100 criminal leak referrals to the DOJ in 2017, 88 in 2018 and 104 on average per year,” she said.
“We have seen targeted leaks of classified information against this president and it is irresponsible; phone calls with foreign leaders, meetings with government officials, and now reports of alleged intelligence. Make no mistake, this damages our ability as a nation to collect intelligence,” she added.
McEnany blasts “irresponsible” anonymous sources and The New York Times for leaking classified information on reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops pic.twitter.com/LhWEqruvey
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) June 30, 2020
The irony is that some of the leaks from Democrats to the media were traced to Schiff, one of the left-wingers who’s now calling for Trump’s access to intelligence to be revoked.
“There’s no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future. I don’t think he can be trusted with it now and in the future, he certainly can’t be trusted,” the Democrat lawmaker said to CBS News on Jan. 17th.
The remarks were made a day after Gordon penned a column for The Washington Post arguing that her former boss should be denied intelligence briefings.
“My recommendation, as a 30-plus-year veteran of the intelligence community, is not to provide him any briefings after Jan. 20. With this simple act — which is solely the new president’s prerogative — Joe Biden can mitigate one aspect of the potential national security risk posed by Donald Trump, private citizen,” she wrote.
Not mentioned in her column was the fact that she unceremoniously departed the Trump administration in apparent spite two years ago after Trump chose to promote someone else to director of national intelligence.
In response to her and Schiff’s call for the former president’s intelligence access to be revoked, current White House chief of staff Ron Klain said last month that the administration would seek input from “our intelligence professionals” before making a decision on the matter.
“We’ll certainly look for a recommendation from the intelligence professionals in the Biden administration,” he told CNN.
As of Feb. 6th, a final ruling hadn’t been made yet, though Biden’s endorsement of revoking former President Trump’s access is likely a sign of what’s soon to come.
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