A man crosses the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) logo in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
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Confronted with intel he didn’t like, Trump eyes major CIA changes

Updated
The Rachel Maddow Show, 1/3/17, 9:30 PM ET

Schumer: Trump 'being really dumb' to fight with intel agencies

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer talks with Rachel Maddow about Donald Trump’s antagonistic tweeting at U.S. intelligence agencies over evidence of Russian hacking.
On Tuesday night’s show, Rachel talked to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) about Donald Trump’s overt hostility towards U.S. intelligence agencies. “You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you,” the Democratic leader said. “So even for a practical supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

When Rachel asked if the president-elect may have “an agenda to try to dismantle parts of the intelligence community,” Schumer replied, “Whether you’re a super liberal Democrat or a very conservative Republican, you should be against dismantling the intelligence community.”

Just 24 hours later, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump has some dramatic changes in mind at the agencies that have told him what he didn’t want to hear.
President-elect Donald Trump, a harsh critic of U.S. intelligence agencies, is working with top advisers on a plan that would restructure and pare back the nation’s top spy agency, people familiar with the planning said.

The move is prompted by his belief that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has become bloated and politicized, these people said.
Quoting sources familiar with Trump’s plans, the Journal reported that the incoming president, who’s publicly mocked and taunted intelligence professionals, intends to “restructure” the Central Intelligence Agency.

“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world has become completely politicized,” the source said. “They all need to be slimmed down.”

We don’t yet have any details about how many cuts would be involved in a “slimming down” and “paring back” of intelligence agencies, but it’s the kind of sentiment that’s bound to cause alarm in national security circles.

If the Journal’s reporting is accurate, it doesn’t come as a complete surprise. About a month ago, during a Fox News interview, Chris Wallace asked Trump about his stated mistrust of U.S. intelligence agencies, and asked who, exactly, the incoming president will “rely on to know what’s going on in the world.”

Trump responded, “Of course, we’re going to make changes, you know, at the top.”

At the time, I took that to mean routine changes, such as appointing his own CIA director. In hindsight, perhaps he meant a more systemic overhaul.

All of this, of course, stems from Trump’s refusal to believe intelligence agencies that have briefed him on Russia’s alleged espionage operation, interfering with the American presidential election. Intelligence professionals told Trump what he didn’t want to hear, which has apparently led the president-elect to assume that the agencies themselves are “politicized.”

It’s the kind of move that will have an important ripple effect throughout the government. It obviously will change the kind of information Trump receives in the Oval Office – he’s now making it abundantly clear he will not believe intelligence he finds politically unpalatable – but it also sends a signal to other agencies that Trump is open to restructuring departments that give him information he doesn’t want to hear.

Welcome to the Trump Era, America.


CIA, Donald Trump and Intelligence

Confronted with intel he didn't like, Trump eyes major CIA changes

Updated