Trump Says Intel Chiefs Agree With Him on Security Threats, Claims Media ‘Distorted’ Testimony

January 31, 2019 Updated: February 1, 2019

President Donald Trump said on Jan. 31 that he and the leaders of American intelligence agencies agree on their assessment of certain major threats to the country.

“Just concluded a great meeting with my Intel team in the Oval Office who told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media – and we are very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc. Their testimony was distorted [by] press,” Trump said in a Jan. 31 tweet.

“I would suggest you read the COMPLETE testimony from Tuesday. A false narrative is so bad for our Country. I value our intelligence community. Happily, we had a very good meeting, and we are all on the same page!” he added in a subsequent tweet.

The heads of major intelligence agencies testified about global national-security threats before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Jan. 29.

Some media focused on several points where the leaders appeared to diverge from Trump’s positions. Still, the complete written statement by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats largely aligns with Trump’s statement (pdf).

Coats stated that “ISIS still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria” but acknowledged the terrorist group “probably realizes that controlling new territory is not sustainable in the near term” after its positions were decimated in Iraq and Syria by the United States, its allies, and other powers in the region.

On North Korea, the intelligence community “continues to assess that it is unlikely to give up all of its WMD [weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles, delivery systems, and production capabilities,” Coats stated, but also acknowledged that “Pyongyang has not conducted any nuclear-capable missile or nuclear tests in more than a year, has declared its support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and has reversibly dismantled portions of its WMD infrastructure.”

Trump has said the denuclearization talks are progressing and expressed optimism that the goal can eventually be achieved.

Coats also stated that “Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.”

CIA Director Gina Haspel testified that Iran is still “technically in compliance” with the nuclear deal—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—that Trump withdrew from in May.

Yet Coats also acknowledged that the JCPOA has merely “extended the amount of time Iran would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon from a few months to about one year.”

Coats also raised alarm about other activities of Iran, such as its ballistic missile program, support for terrorists and various militias, and its cyber capabilities.

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