The United Nations headquarters in Geneva

Credit: Jean-Marc Ferré

Trump's Questioning Of Intelligence Agencies Might Hurt U.S. Alliances

December 14, 2016

Donald Trump’s choosing not to attend intelligence briefings might spook U.S. allies, said homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem during an appearance on Boston Public Radio.

“Our enemies have to believe that our principal is engaged in the national security issues of our time,” she said. “But more importantly, our allies do.”

Kayyem pointed out that in order to garner support from U.S. allies, the president has to inspire faith in the intelligence offered by American agencies.

“At some stage during the next four years, Trump is going to have to get Britain, France, NATO, the African Union to support an effort,” she said. “That will be based on an intelligence assessment that one would hope they also have confidence in, and he’s just now thrown the whole thing out.”

Trump has averaged about one intelligence briefing a week, which is less than his predecessors.

He’s also questioned the legitimacy of intelligence coming from the CIA as the agency discovered Russia’s influence in the U.S. presidential election.

Kayyem said even though some presidents may not have received security briefings frequently, it’s atypical for the president-elect to undermine the authority of security agencies.

“None of those presidents [said] publicly,  ‘I’m not curious,’” she said. “None of them threw intelligence agencies under the bus.”

Trump has also implied the reports are too repetitive.

Kayyem disputed his claim, saying briefings are “atmospheric” and they are more about “connecting dots.”

Plus, she says: “He hasn’t taken enough to know it’s repetitive.”

Juliette Kayyem is a homeland security expert and Founder of Juliette Kayyem Solutions. She’s also on the faculty of the Kennedy School. To hear her interview on BPR in its entirety, click on the audio link above.

WGBH News is supported by:
Back to top