WASHINGTON – President Biden said on Friday he would ban his predecessor Donald J. Trump from receiving intelligence briefings traditionally given to former presidents, saying Mr. Trump could not be trusted due to his “erratic behavior Even before January. 6 attack on the Capitol.
It was the first time that a former president was excluded from briefings, which are provided partly as a courtesy and partly for times when a sitting president asks for advice. Currently, information sessions are regularly offered to Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Mr Biden, speaking to Norah O’Donnell of CBS News, said Mr Trump’s behavior worried him ‘unrelated to the insurgency’ which led to Mr Trump’s second indictment .
“I just don’t think it’s necessary for him to have the intelligence briefings,” Biden said.
“What’s the value of giving him an intelligence briefing?” Mr Biden added. “What impact does he have at all, other than the fact that he might slip up and say something?”
The White House said this week it had considered whether the former president, whose Senate impeachment trial begins on Tuesday, should receive the information. The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff, said last month, just before Mr. Biden’s inauguration, that Mr. Trump’s access to any classified information should be cut off.
“There is no circumstance under which this president should get another intelligence briefing, neither now nor in the future,” said Mr. Schiff, a Democrat of California, who was the House Director of the first trial of Mr. Trump’s impeachment a year ago.
“Indeed, there were, I think, a number of intelligence partners around the world who probably started withholding information from us because they didn’t believe the president would protect that information and protect their sources and methods. Said Mr. Schiff. “And that makes us less sure. We’ve seen this president politicize intelligence, and that’s another risk to the country.
The question of how Mr. Trump handles intelligence has been raised several times during his presidency. Shortly after sacking FBI Director James B. Comey in 2017, Mr. Trump briefed the Russian Foreign Minister and the Russian Ambassador on highly confidential intelligence on the Islamic State from Israel. . The Israelis were outraged.
Later in his presidency, Mr. Trump took a photo with his phone of a classified satellite image showing an explosion on a missile launch pad in Iran. Some of the marks were blacked out first, but the revelation gave opponents information – which they perhaps had, anyway – about the capabilities of U.S. surveillance satellites.
There were other examples, and Mr. Trump’s aides later said that because he refused to read the intelligence reports – preferring an oral briefing – he had not seen the inscriptions ” (S) “and” (U) “indicating” secret “and” unclassified. “
But there was deeper concern about how Mr. Trump might use the intelligence now that he has retired to Mar-a-Lago, his club in Florida. The former president has spoken openly about the possibility of running for the White House again, possibly under the banner of a third party. The fear was that he would use or distort intelligence to fit his political agenda, something he was often accused of in power.
Among those claiming to cut off Mr. Trump’s access was Susan M. Gordon, a career CIA officer who served as deputy director of national intelligence until 2019, when she left after being transferred to director position.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post in January, Ms Gordon, one of the most respected intelligence officers of her generation, wrote that the danger of providing intelligence to a president whose business dealings could make him beholden to foreign investors and lenders was just too good. Ms. Gordon has frequently briefed Mr. Trump.
“Her post-White House ‘security profile’, as professionals like to call it, is intimidating,” she wrote the week following the attack on Capitol Hill. “Any former president is by definition a target and presents risks. But a former President Trump, even before the events of last week, could be exceptionally vulnerable to bad, malicious actors.