Donald Trump to receive first classified briefing as presidential candidate at FBI office

Mr Trump will get his first briefing in New York

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Tuesday 16 August 2016 17:12
Comments
The Republican presidential nominee speaks during a campaign event in Connecticut at the weekend
The Republican presidential nominee speaks during a campaign event in Connecticut at the weekend

It is a custom of US presidential elections that the candidates of the major parities receive classified briefings to prepare them, should they take office.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Mr Trump is set to receive his first such update on Wednesday at the FBI’s New York Field Office.

ABC News said that the Republican candidate planned to take with him New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Lt Gen Michael Flynn, the former top military and intelligence official who has become an outspoken supporter of Mr Trump.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he had no problem briefing the candidates

The report said staff from the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI), the nation’s top intelligence office, will be leading the briefing, which is expected to cover major threats and emerging concerns from around the world.

Mr Trump’s session comes two days after he laid out a series of foreign policy proposals, including plans for subjecting immigrants to “extreme vetting” and temporarily blocking immigration from “the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world”.

Due to the sensitivity of the information discussed during briefings of presidential candidates, the sessions must take place in locations with secure rooms, known as Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities. The FBI’s office in New York City has such rooms, though it is unlikely that the bureau’s agents will play any role in the briefing.

Earlier this year, when Mr Trump secured the party’s nomination, some people raised concerns about the wisdom of providing him with some briefings. They claimed there was a potential security risk because of links between his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and Russian political figures.

Donald Trump calls for 'extreme vetting' of immigrants

Others have pointed out the controversial statements he has made on the campaign trail and his suggestion – which he later dismissed as just a joke – that Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.

DNI Director James Clapper and the White House recently said they had no qualms about briefing the Republican or Democratic presidential candidates, noting the move was a “long-standing tradition in our system” that dated back more than 60 years.

“Ensuring a smooth transition to the next president is a top priority, and that’s important, in part, because of the significant threats around the world,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington last month.

He said US intelligence officials “understand what steps are necessary to protect sensitive national security information, and the administration is confident that they can both provide relevant and sufficient briefings to the two major-party presidential candidates while also protecting sensitive national security information”.

Mr Clapper said at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado: “The American electorate is in the process of deciding the suitability of these two candidates to serve as commander in chief, and they will make that decision, to pick someone who will be cleared for everything.”

Yet the reaction on Twitter to Mr Trump’s imminent briefing was not so sanguine. Many suggested it would only be a matter of time before Mr Trump started to blurt out details of what he had been told.

“Prediction: Trump will come close to having his clearance revoked after tweeting some classified information,” said one tweeter.

Another said: “LOL, they're giving Donald Trump classified briefings now. How long before he tweets about what the FBI is giving him? I say 48 hrs.”

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