Trump to Revamp Intelligence Agencies: Report
Donald Trump wants to downsize/change various intelligence agencies during his term in office since he believes they are bloated and inefficient.
The Hill reports:
President-elect Donald Trump is crafting plans to restructure at least two of the nation’s top intelligence agencies, according to a new report.
Trump is eyeing overhauls of the CIA and the office of the director of national intelligence (DNI), The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
“The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world [is] becoming completely politicized,” an individual close to Trump’s transition operation said. “They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring agencies and how they interact.”
Trump is targeting the CIA and the DNI as he publicly wars with the U.S. intelligence community over its conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
The president-elect has vehemently denied that Russian hacking of Democratic organizations before Election Day aided his White House bid.
Trump wants to shrink the DNI, as he believes the agency established in 2004 as a response to the 9/11 terror attacks has become bloated and politicized.
The CIA declined Wednesday to comment on Trump’s plans, which reportedly include cutting staffing at its Virginia headquarters and assigning more people to field posts.
The Journal added that advisers helping Trump draft the proposed alterations include retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.).
Flynn has been tapped to serve as Trump’s national security adviser.
Pompeo, his pick for CIA director, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week.
Reports emerged Wednesday that Trump wants former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) to become director of national intelligence.
Coats, who did not seek reelection in November, was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee before exiting Congress.
The director of national intelligence is charged with facilitating smoother information sharing between the 16 agencies comprising the U.S. national intelligence community.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the DNI “has played a crucial role in coordinating and integrating intelligence and breaking down stove-pipes.”
He said in a statement that while it is “appropriate” to continue to ensure the office is running properly, “any move to arbitrarily slash the office will diminish its effectiveness and reverse many of the important gains we had made since 9/11.”
“Moreover, to propose changing the CIA’s operational structure because of loose allegations of politicization — claims based on nothing more than the Agency’s willingness to contradict the President-elect’s preferred version of events — would be a mistake of the highest order,” he said.
Trump earlier Wednesday sided with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s claim that his organization did not obtain hacked documents it released during the 2016 race from Russia.
The Obama administration in October formally accused Russia of trying to meddle in the presidential election.
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