Former security officials warn Donald Trump won’t keep state secrets

Former security official said it was ‘easy to imagine’ that Trump would be refused further intelligence 

Gino Spocchia
Saturday 28 November 2020 15:15 GMT
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American security experts are concerned that Donald Trump will be unable to keep state secrets when he leaves the White House, and should be barred from receiving future intelligence briefings, according to reports.

The US president, who has routinely broken with precedent in the past and revealed American secrets, would be in line to receive briefings even when he leaves the White House.

But, as security experts told NBC News this week, the president could also prove vulnerable to selling those secrets to the country’s adversaries, and on that basis, should not have access to anymore briefings.

As well as a troubled personal brand and tax records under investigation, Mr Trump was also reported to owe $400 million in debt to unknown lenders.  

“Is that a risk?” said David Preiss, an ex-CIA agent who wrote The President's Book of Secrets, on intelligence and presidents. “If it were someone applying for a security clearance, damn right it would be a risk.”

Mr Preiss, who briefed former president George H.W. Bush as a CIA agent, was among a number of security experts who raised concerns to NBC News.

Jack Goldsmith, who served as a senior Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration said “it was easy to imagine” that Mr Trump would be refused further intelligence when he leaves office.

"This is not something that one could have ever imagined with other presidents, but it's easy to imagine with this one," said the former official.  

"He's shown as president that he doesn't take secret-keeping terribly seriously. He has a known tendency to disrespect rules related to national security. And he has a known tendency to like to sell things that are valuable to him."

Mr Trump was reported to have told Russia’s ambassador and foreign minister in 2017 about sensitive terrorism threat information that had not been shared with America’s allies, while on Twitter in 2019, he shared what experts said was a secret satellite photo of an Iranian nuclear installation.

And, after he boasted about a new range of “super duper missiles” in May this year, Mr Trump appeared to force the The Pentagon and Department of Defense to reluctantly confirm they were “working on developing a range of hypersonic missiles to counter our adversaries.”

According to NBC News, former presidents are given briefings before they travel overseas, or when the current president wants to consult them, but Mr Trump has not believed to have done so, with former president Barack Obama.

Mr Trump’s overseas businesses and investments are among the most complicated of any president, with interests in a number of countries which include Russia and China.  

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