According to a recent New York Times article, President Donald Trump is expected to assign the New York billionaire Stephen Feinberg to lead a team to review the American intelligence agencies.
Feinberg, co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, was outspoken about his loyalty to Trump during his election and already is a member of Trump’s economic advisory council.
Earlier this week, the president blamed the intelligence community for leaks that ultimately led to the resignation of Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser.
He also expressed similar criticisms on Twitter.
“The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by “intelligence” like candy. Very un-American!” tweeted Trump on Wednesday.
Like anticipated, intelligence officials are showing signs of opposition to being reviewed.
According to the New York Times, its ” an effort that members of the intelligence community fear could curtail their independence and reduce the flow of information that contradicts the president’s worldview.”
There has yet to be an official announcement about Feinberg’s new role. However, he did mention to his company shareholders that he was in negotiations with Trump’s team about joining the administration.
Some intelligence officials believe that the review by Feinberg is just his first step to becoming more involved in the these agencies.
“Mr. Feinberg, who has close ties to Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, declined to comment on his possible position. The White House, which is still working out the details of the intelligence review, also would not comment,” writes The New York Times. “Bringing Mr. Feinberg into the administration to conduct the review is seen as a way of injecting a Trump loyalist into a world the White House views with suspicion. But top intelligence officials fear that Mr. Feinberg is being groomed for a high position in one of the intelligence agencies.”
The Times also stated that Feinberg was being considered for the director of national intelligence and the chief of the CIA, but commented on his lack of national security experience.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that intelligence agencies have withheld information from the president.
“In some of these cases of withheld information, officials have decided not to show Mr. Trump the sources and methods that the intelligence agencies use to collect information, the current and former officials said. Those sources and methods could include, for instance, the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government,” writes the Wall Street Journal.
Withholding information from the president could show a lack of trust as Margaret Hartmann of New York Magazine writes in a recent article.
“This lack of trust, including the withholding of information from the president and politically motivated leaks, should be concerning to everyone. The Trump administration may be the target now, but obviously misleading disclosures didn’t do Democrats any good before November 8. However, President Trump is trying to make his newfound concern about leaking — and not staggering allegations of Russian attempts to influence the U.S. election on his behalf — the sole takeaway from the Flynn debacle,” writes Hartmann for New York Magazine.
Many believe the C.I.A., in particular, needs reform.
“People there need to be rooted out,” said Rep Steve King, Republican of Iowa in an interview where he said that not all intelligence officials are trust-worthy.
Editor’s note: As we have said before, it is not Trump’s job to adjust to the intelligence community, it is their job to adjust to the President. The intelligence community has some of the most intelligent and dedicated people in America. A few bad apples won’t spoil this group.