Report: Trump Plans to Streamline Intelligence Agencies
by Todd Beamon
President-elect Donald Trump plans to restructure and scale back the nation’s intelligence agencies — amid concerns that they have become politicized and bloated — and that includes cutting CIA staff and moving more agents into field offices worldwide, according to news reports.
“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world [is] becoming completely politicized,” a transition source told The Wall Street Journal. “They all need to be slimmed down.
“The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.”
The CIA, based in Langley, Va., outside Washington, D.C. declined to comment, the Journal reports.
The agency falls under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which was established in 2004, primarily to increase coordination after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Trump has slammed the nation’s intelligence agencies since the November election, particularly challenging findings that Russia has hacked into the Democratic National Committee and other party operatives and leaked its findings to WikiLeaks for publishing on its website.
The president-elect is scheduled to be briefed by intelligence officials in New York on Friday after slamming a meeting delay Tuesday as an effort for them to “build a case” against the Kremlin.
President Barack Obama has ordered a report into the breaches that is expected to be due on Thursday, according to the Journal.
Trump has published nearly 250 Twitter posts since the election — 11 of which have focused on Russia or the cyberattacks, the Journal reports.
Those tweets have either praised Russian President Vladimir Putin — calling him “very smart” last month — or ridiculed the intelligence investigation into the hacks.
By comparison, Trump’s other tweets concerned such issues as North Korea or China — and his views mirrored those of U.S. spy agencies, according to the Journal.
Russia has long denied any role in the hacking.
White House officials Wednesday attacked Trump for his resistance to the intelligence information.
“It’s appalling,” a staffer told the Journal. “No president has ever taken on the CIA and come out looking good.”
Those advising Trump include his choice for national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who had served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency until 2013, as well as Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, whom Trump plans to nominate as CIA director.
Flynn did not respond to a request from the Journal and Pompeo declined to comment.
Paul Pillar, who spent 28 years at the CIA before retiring in 2005, said that he was troubled by Trump’s Twitter activity and that he feared much of the intelligence community’s assessments could be filtered through Flynn.
“I’m rather pessimistic,” Pillar told the Journal. “This is indeed disturbing that the president should come in with this negative view of the agencies coupled with his habits on how he absorbs information and so on that don’t provide a lot of hope for change.”