Even Trump's Own Intelligence Experts Don't Support His Foreign Policy Decisions
President Trump's top intelligence officials contradicted the basic underlying assumptions of his foreign policy today in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. While Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, did echo many of Trump's warnings about China, he drew a starkly different picture than the President on N. Korea, Iran and ISIS,
ABC News: "America's top intelligence officials on Tuesday appeared to challenge some of President Donald Trump's most prominent claims about global national security issues, warning lawmakers that ISIS is still a serious threat to U.S. interests around the world, acknowledging that Iran has -- at least temporarily -- abandoned its efforts to build nuclear weapons, and insisting that North Korea is "unlikely to give up" its own nuclear arsenal."
Differences were the most pronounced regarding N. Korea's nuclear weapons program. Trump has argued that the two sides are making progress in fully denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, but his intelligence officials disagree and doubt that a second summit with Kim Jong-un will lead to the results the President has promised.
Politico: "We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival," Coats said during a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee."
CBS News: "Coats noted the intelligence community had made "observations of some activity" that were "inconsistent with full denuclearization."
That assessment is bolstered by a variety of analysts which note that N. Korea is continuing to build warheads and missiles.
Similarly, Coats and the other intelligence officials disagreed with Trump's claims that Iran was cheating on their agreement to suspend their nuclear weapons program. Moreover, they also warned that Trump's withdrawal from that agreement and renewed sanctions may be pushing them to restart the program.
New York Times: “We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device,” Mr. Coats said, but he added that Iranian officials have “publicly threatened to push the boundaries” of the nuclear deal it struck with world powers in 2015 if it did not see the benefits it expected."
Coats also warned that Trump's decision to pull out of Syria may have been premature and that ISIS could make a come-back in Syria and Iraq.
CNN: "Coats told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday that ISIS "has returned to its guerrilla warfare roots while continuing to plot attacks and direct its supporters worldwide."
"But he also clearly stated that the group maintains a presence in Iraq and Syria."
"ISIS is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria," he said."
Perhaps such a public shaming by his own officials will convince the President to re-think some of his foreign policy assumptions.