Cyber Command Chief Admiral Mike Rogers has said in a testimony before Congress that he is worried that if the intelligence community continues to be berated and undermined by president elect Donald Trump, there will be a large number of resignations.
He says the motivation to serve in U.S intelligence is “driven in no small part by confidence from our leaders”. Without that, Rogers cautioned, there could be “a situation where our workforce decides to walk.” Clapper added there is an “important distinction” between “healthy scepticism” of intelligence assessments and “disparagement.”
This doesn’t mention Trump’s name, but there’s little doubt it was referencing him.
Trump again publicly mocked the intelligence community on Twitter for allegedly delaying an intelligence briefing on what he called the “so-called ‘Russia hacking’” related to the presidential election.
The “Intelligence” briefing on so-called “Russian hacking” was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017
Trump’s team have loudly contested any inference that the Russian government was behind any of the hacks into senior democratic officials during the campaign.
“I know a lot about hacking”
Trump told reporters last weekend. “And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else.”
Trump’s main source for distrust is found in his repeated references to the flawed 2002 intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and uses this as a reason to doubt any assessment. House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to meet us halfway, saying the intelligence community doesn’t “always get everything right” but acknowledging that “Russia clearly tried to meddle in our political system”.
Obama, after the election, asked the intelligence community to prepare a report on Russia’s alleged attempts to undermine the election through cyberattacks and dissemination of online political propaganda and whether they intended to sway the election to Trump.
The heads of the Central intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Director of National Intelligence all travelled to present that report to the incoming president.
Trump wants us to believe Kremlin not US intelligence – so in 9 days we’ll have a Pres owned by Russia
— Simon Schama (@simon_schama) January 11, 2017
The result was clear – Russia was involved.
The intelligence community has released a declassified version of their report on Monday because “the public should know as much as possible.” It was notable because Clapper hasn’t always been so forthcoming with the public.
Many Republicans don’t seem enthused about an independent investigation pursued by Congress – whether Trump agrees with the intelligence community’s conclusion or not. They are instead focused on America’s domestic cyber capabilities, rather than Russia’s alleged interference.
One Republican who did mention it, North Carolina Republican Thom Thillis, suggested that any election interference from Russia was a consequence of the United States’ past interference in other countries’ elections. The US might be a “glass house” because it interfered in over 80 elections whereas Russia had only interfered in 36.
In the meanwhile, Democrats used the hearing to continually praise the American intelligence community and criticize Trump. There would be “howls” from the Republicans if a Democrat were “trashing” the intelligence community like Trump is, Senator Claire McCaskill said.