The nation’s top intelligence officials have reported to Congress that Iran, at least for now, is not trying to develop a nuclear weapon. In fact, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified to senators yesterday that Iranian officials appear to be complying with the Obama-era international nuclear agreement, which Donald Trump has taken steps to destroy, despite its efficacy.
This morning, the Republican president decided to respond – in the most Trump-esque way he could.
“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict.
“They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There [sic] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”
I will gladly concede that when it comes national security challenges and interpretations of intelligence, there’s often room for debate and deliberation. A president and top members of his/her team will sometimes reach different conclusions based on incomplete information.
But in this case, American intelligence professionals shared unambiguous facts about Iran. Donald Trump didn’t like those facts, so he thought it’d be a good idea to belittle U.S. agencies in public.
Perhaps, if intelligence officials would simply tell him what he wants to hear, and echo the White House’s political preferences, the president would be less inclined to ridicule them.
That’s not how any of this is supposed to work.
Making matters slightly worse, before this little Twitter tirade, Trump also published a missive warning of new migrant caravans “marching to our Border.” The president indicated that he learned about the developments from Fox News’ morning show.
Because in Trump’s mind, U.S. intelligence professionals are “passive,” “naïve,” and in need of additional schooling, but conservative media personalities are reliable sources of valid information.