President-elect Donald Trump has passed on nearly every intelligence briefing offered to him by analysts since he was elected, according to a report by the Washington Post.
Trump has only attended two intelligence briefings, while intelligence analysts have been prepared to give him summaries of global events and security threats every day. Former CIA officials told the Post that forgoing intelligence briefings is not typical-- George W. Bush, for example, received daily briefings after the Florida election recount.
Kayyem said Trump’s dismissal of security briefings is troubling because even though he’ll have a team of advisers, he alone will make crucial decisions.
“The president is the decider, not the National Security Adviser, not the Vice President,” Kayyem said. “So presumably, you’d want a certain level of knowledge.”
She also pointed out that transitions between power are vulnerable spaces for national security, noting that both 9/11 and the Madrid train bombings in 2004 happened on or around election day.
“If there’s any moment you don’t want to forgo the security briefings, it’s at the beginning during the transition,” Kayyem said. “At the beginning, you want an informed executive because when it comes to high risk moments, they tend to be transitions.”
Kayyem predicted, based on Trump’s dismissal of security briefings thus far, that lower levels of his administration will see the departure of some personnel.
“His security decisions will be made at the agency level or the national security staff level, of which I think there’s going to be massive attrition,” said Kayyem.
To hear Juliette Kayyem’s interview on BPR in its entirety, click on the audio link above.