President Donald Trump attacked his own intelligence chiefs today after they contradicted his statements about the status of threats posed by Iran, North Korea and other countries. Trump called the intelligence chiefs “wrong” and “passive and naive.” He also said that these seasoned intelligence officials might need to go back to school. It is worth noting that the testimony of these officials were not only quite measured but widely shared by experts in the field.
Trump seemed most angry over the testimony of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel. Coats testified for example “We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.” Haspel said the evidence shows that North Korea “is committed to developing a long-range nuclear-armed missile that would pose a direct threat to the United States.”
After the intelligence chiefs testified before Congress, Trump went to Twitter to blast his own appointees, insisting “The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” He also told his own appointees “Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”
It is a bizarre moment since, if Trump thought these top intelligence people are passive and naive, one would think that he would replace them.