In the next few days, presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will begin receiving classified briefings on national security. These non-mandated briefings are given as a courtesy from the sitting president to help the transition process. Democrats and Republican alike have charged that their respective opponents are not briefing worthy.
Trump cites Clinton’s email scandal as evidence of her inability to handle sensitive information. “She should absolutely not be allowed to get briefings, because anything she gets, she has a phony server. What she’s done is incredible,” Trump said on Fox News.
There has been an even more vocal public outcry to bar Trump from being briefed. As of Wednesday, 177,358 people have signed an online petition calling for the government to not provide Trump any briefings. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said he hopes that Trump is given fake intelligence briefings, “because you can't trust him."
National security expert and the host of WGBH’s Security Mom Podcast Juliette Kayyem told Boston Public Radio on Wednesday that it would be unwise to not brief Trump.
“However circus like this campaign is, we need to take governance seriously, and that involves preparing one of two people who will be President of the United Sates for the threats that they may encounter on day one,” she said.
Despite Kayyem’s distrust of Trump, she believes that it is still in the best interest of the country and its security to brief a prospective president. “He is unfit to be president, but one party, until they choose otherwise, has chosen him, so we need to prepare this nation because this nation is bigger than this candidate for the potential that he will win,” she said.
Kayyem ensured that the information conveyed in these sessions could not be used to negatively impact national security or disclose covert operations. “It is not going to be like: 'We have four U.S. operatives in a Saudi cell that are about to disrupt a four-city European ISIS attack and we wanted you to know.' That is not going to happen.”