The officials’ decision to keep information from Mr. Trump makes clear the deep mistrust that has developed between the intelligence community and the president over the revelation of his political and business team’s constant contacts with the Russian government during the 2016 election.
Another reason given for their tightfistedness with sensitive materials is due to the lack of respect and outright animosity Trump has shown U.S. spy agencies. This was underscored on Wednesday when Mr. Trump accused the agencies of leaking information to undermine him.
The WSJ article also sites the fact that Mr. Trump doesn’t even pretend to be interested in the intelligence they risk their lives to get for him. This was evidenced by a request to the intelligence agencies to dramatically pare down the president’s daily intelligence briefing, both the number of topics and how much information is described under each topic, an official said.
One former intelligence official told the Wall Street Journal...
“It’s probably unprecedented to have this difficult a relationship between a president and the intelligence agencies. I can’t recall ever seeing this level of friction. And it’s just not good for the country.”
Leading credence to the WSJ report was Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who said he has heard concerns from officials about sharing especially sensitive information with Mr. Trump...
“I’ve talked with people in the intelligence community that do have concerns about the White House, about the president, and I think those concerns take a number of forms. What the intelligence community considers their most sacred obligation is to protect the very best intelligence and to protect the people that are producing it.”
It was well known publicly, even before Trump took office that the relationship between the spy agencies and Mr. Trump were already strained when he publicly accused the Central Intelligence Agency and others of leaking information about alleged Russian hacking operations to undermine the legitimacy of his election win.
After this story broke a spokesman for the Office of Director of National Intelligence denied the report saying...
“Any suggestion that the U.S. intelligence community is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true.”
Contradicting the DNI's statement is a Washington Post story from last night that claims the fear of the Trump team's ties to Russia was so bad that some members of the Obama team made a point of not sharing all of their intelligence on Russia and some other nation’s security issues with members of the new administration.