Donald Trump criticised for lack of respect to intelligence professionals

President-elect said it was 'very strange' a meeting with senior intelligence officials had been moved

Will Worley
Wednesday 04 January 2017 11:00
Donald Trump said delaying the meeting was 'very strange'
Donald Trump said delaying the meeting was 'very strange'

Donald Trump should have more "respect" for intelligence professionals, according to the vice president of the US Intelligence Committee.

Senator Mark Warner made the claim after the President-elect suggested on Twitter that an intelligence briefing with him had been delayed because spy chiefs perhaps needed “more time…to build a case” on Russia’s alleged electoral hacking.

Trump added that it was “very strange” that the group of highly senior intelligence officials pushed the meeting back until Friday.

Taking to the social media site to respond, Mr Warner said he really wished "we saw more PEOTUS (President-elect of the United States) respect for our intelligence professionals."

US government sources have also claimed that the meeting was always scheduled for Friday, adding that President Obama has not yet been fully briefed on the issue.

A security official told the Washington Post that there may have been a “scheduling disconnect” between Mr Trump's transition team and the spy agencies.

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The official, who was not authorised to speak publicly, added that it was a complex process to organise a meeting with all the top US spy chiefs.

CIA director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers are believed to be attending the meeting.

President Obama has also not yet been briefed on the full extent of Russian hacking, a US government source told CNN. They also denied the meeting had been delayed.

The officials were responding to a tweet from Mr Trump in which he said: “The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”

He did not provide any evidence to back up his claim.

The President-elect seemed to be implying that the US intelligence community did not have proper evidence connecting Russia to interference in the US democratic process.

Both the CIA and the FBI have stated otherwise.

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Mr Trump has previously criticised the spy agencies by citing the faulty intelligence which surrounded Iraq’s supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction prior to the US in 2003.

However, to publicly embarrass some of the most senior intelligence officials in the country and question their motives is unprecedented for a President-elect or incumbent president.

The Independent contacted the US State Department but they had not commented by the time of publication.

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