Trump to Start Receiving Security Briefings From Intelligence Agencies

By Steven Klett
Steven Klett
Steven Klett
May 6, 2016 Updated: May 8, 2016

As the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump is going to get security briefings of classified information from intelligence agencies.

However, some members of the intelligence community have been hesitant to say that’s a good thing, according to a report in The Washington Post.

“Given that [Trump’s] public persona seems to reflect a lack of understanding or care about global issues, how do you arrange these presentations to learn what are the true depths of his understanding?” said former CIA director Michael V. Hayden, who briefed President Obama after the 2008 election. 

Intelligence agencies are preparing to brief both Trump and presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but it most likely won’t happen before the conventions conclude in July, according to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.

One of difficulties with Trump is that he doesn’t seem to have a filter:

“This is a person who doesn’t seem to have much of a filter,” said Aki Peritz, a former CIA analyst who contributed to the President’s Daily Brief (PDB)—the digest delivered each morning to the Oval Office.

“The scary part is that nobody knows who he really is. Is he this blowhard demagogue we see on TV or is he really a sophisticated consumer of information that will keep this information close to his chest?”

An example on the campaign trail of Trump’s difficulty with keeping personal information secret is when, near the beginning of his campaign, he gave out Lindsey Graham’s cell phone number during a rally after Graham called Trump a “jackass.” 

Clinton, too, has had a persistent problem convincing people that she can handle secure information—with a highly publicized scandal about her using a private email server as Secretary of State.

The difference between Clinton and Trump is that Clinton has had years of experience with classified government information while the former reality star and real estate mogul appears to have had none.

Either way, the Director of National Intelligence and CIA analysts may not be able to have any say in the matter as the intelligence agencies claim they treat all the candidates equally. 

“The candidates get the same information—no favoritism,” said David Priess, a former CIA briefer. “It’s not that the briefer can freelance.”

Steven Klett