Biden Bars Trump From Receiving Intelligence Briefings, Citing ‘Erratic Behavior’

WASHINGTON — President Biden mentioned on Friday that he would bar his predecessor, Donald J. Trump, from receiving intelligence briefings historically given to former presidents, saying that Mr. Trump couldn’t be trusted due to his “erratic behavior” even earlier than the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

The transfer was the primary time former president had been minimize out of the briefings, that are supplied partly as a courtesy and partly for the moments when a sitting president reaches out for recommendation. Currently, the briefings are supplied regularly to Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Mr. Biden, chatting with Norah O’Donnell of CBS News, mentioned Mr. Trump’s habits anxious him “unrelated to the insurrection” that gave rise to the second impeachment of Mr. Trump.

“I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefings,” Mr. Biden mentioned.

“What value is giving him an intelligence briefing?” Mr. Biden added. “What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?”

The White House mentioned this week that it had been reviewing whether or not the previous president, whose impeachment trial within the Senate begins on Tuesday, ought to obtain the briefings. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff, mentioned final month, simply earlier than Mr. Biden’s inauguration, that Mr. Trump’s entry to any categorised info needs to be minimize off.

“There is no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now and not in the future,” mentioned Mr. Schiff, Democrat of California, who was the House supervisor for Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, a yr in the past.

“Indeed, there were, I think, any number of intelligence partners around the world who probably started withholding information from us because they didn’t trust the president would safeguard that information, and protect their sources and methods,” Mr. Schiff mentioned. “And that makes us less safe. We’ve seen this president politicize intelligence, and that’s another risk to the country.”

The query of how Mr. Trump handles intelligence got here up a number of instances throughout his presidency. Shortly after he fired the F.B.I. director James B. Comey in 2017, Mr. Trump told the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador about a highly classified piece of intelligence about the Islamic State that came from Israel. The Israelis were outraged.

Later in his presidency, Mr. Trump took a photograph with his phone of a classified satellite image showing an explosion at a missile launchpad in Iran. Some of the markings were blacked out first, but the revelation gave adversaries information — which they may have had, anyway — about the abilities of American surveillance satellites.

There were other examples, and Mr. Trump’s aides later said that because he declined to read intelligence reports — preferring an oral briefing — he did not see the “(S)” and “(U)” markings that indicated “secret” and “unclassified.”

But there was a deeper worry about how Mr. Trump could use intelligence now that he has retreated to Mar-a-Lago, his club in Florida. The former president has talked openly about the possibility of running for the White House again, perhaps under the banner of a third party. The fear was that he would use, or twist, intelligence to fit his political agenda, something he was often accused of in office.

Among those arguing to cut off Mr. Trump’s access was Susan M. Gordon, a career C.I.A. officer who served as deputy director of national intelligence until 2019, when she left after being passed over for director.

In an opinion article in The Washington Post in January, Ms. Gordon, one of the most respected intelligence officers of her generation, wrote that the danger of providing intelligence to a president whose business deals might make him beholden to foreign investors and lenders was just too great. Ms. Gordon frequently briefed Mr. Trump.

“His post-White House ‘security profile,’ as the professionals like to call it, is daunting,” she wrote the week after the attack on the Capitol. “Any former president is by definition a target and presents some risks. But a former President Trump, even before the events of last week, might be unusually vulnerable to bad actors with ill intent.”

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