The government’s intelligence operatives, fearing leaks of classified information, are not fully informing President Trump about everything they know, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper claimed to have interviewed many current and former officials who said federal employees are worried because of the recent leaks that led to the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. When accounts of Flynn’s December phone calls with the Russian ambassador to the United States became known, Trump lashed out at government whistleblowers for their “illegal leaks.”
Regarding the alleged withholding of intelligence information, a White House spokesman told the Journal: “There is nothing that leads us to believe that this is an accurate account of what is actually happening.”
Trump asked for Flynn to step down on Monday, after the director admitted he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about his conversations with the ambassador. According to U.S. spies who listened in on the calls, Flynn and the envoy discussed the likelihood that the Trump administration would repeal economic sanctions President Obama imposed on Russia. Obama was still in the White House when the discussions took place.
Instead of addressing Flynn’s wrongdoing, Trump called for a congressional investigation of the leaks that led to the director’s downfall. The president also blasted the news media’s coverage of the affair. He said it was “really a sad thing that (Flynn) was treated so badly.”
The Daily Mail noted that one reason the Flynn scandal was such a big story is that the Trump administration was already facing questions about its ties to Russia. Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin have publicly praised each other, and the president has pledged to have friendlier relations with Russia.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, resigned in August following the revelation that he had been a political consultant for government officials in Russia and Ukraine. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has links to Russia as a result of having been Exxon/Mobil’s CEO for many years.