A Questionable, but Vital Collaboration: Intelligence and the President-elect

Kathryn Cushman ’20 – Inside Politics Participant

Over the last several days, news outlets have been discussing the relationship between the President-elect, Donald Trump, and the intelligence community. Intelligence sprang into action during the hours that followed the Presidential election. High-ranking officials and military commanders did not waste any moment in discussing the whereabouts and timing of their first briefing sessions with the future president. In fact, the President-elect was included in a meeting with intelligence analysts hours after he landed the presidency. With the purpose of informing the future President of the current projects, information, and objectives of intelligence, briefing sessions are a time for President-elect Trump to understand the complex operations of the intelligence agencies. Vibes of tension and hesitancy might, however, dominate the meetings.

Throughout his campaign, the President-elect has conveyed dissatisfaction and concern over the the actions of the intelligence community. He specifically speaks about a lack of effectively targeting and weakening terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Boko Haram. Additionally, he has expressed distinct views on interrogation methods and relationships with other nations in the international system. Thus, one understandably can ponder if the individuals that possess some of the most vital and invaluable information that preserves national security will cooperate with the future President. In The Washington Post, A senior national security official honestly voices his thoughts on the President-elect and intelligence community relations by stating that “it’s the fear of the unknown.” Patience and excellent listening skills may serve as the key ingredients to a collaborative and professional relationship between the future President and intelligence. These individuals, one hopes, comprehend the dire need of establishing cordial and strong relations. In the midst of political divisions, international tension, and domestic uncertainty, our nation may not be able to afford a strained relationship between these powerful quarters of Washington.


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