The House Intelligence Committee’s Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) was a guest on Weekend Edition Sunday primarily to discus the latest news about Russia’s attempt to influence the U.S. presidential elections. Among his comments to host Alisa Chang was that Trump’s dismissal of the CIA report is short-sighted. Trump has tried to invalidate the findings because they were wrong about the weapons of mass destruction. So does that mean they’re going to be wrong about everything in the future?
Trump evidently does not think he has to attend intelligence meetings. I guess that would interfere with his time on Twitter. And complaining that Time named him”Person of the Year” instead of “Man of the Year.”I was actually surprised: when I search Google with the words “Trump complains about…” in the news category, it only came back with 336,000 results. (By the way, did I miss it or did he actually not complain about Saturday Night Live so far?).
I was driving to the grocer story when I heard Chang and Schiff (not to be confused with the district attorney on Law and Order), and was worried over this exchange:
CHANG: You’ve mentioned that you are quite disappointed with the response of President-elect Trump to all of this. One thing that he said is that, you know, the CIA is the same agency that gave us faulty intelligence about so-called weapons of mass destruction. The CIA has been wrong before. Does Trump have a point here?
SCHIFF: Well, it’s certainly true that the intelligence around the Iraq War was politicized, and that’s a problem that we have taken enormous steps to confront to make sure that it never happens again within the intelligence community or within the political process. But the problem here is that Trump is making this claim, making this analogy to the Iraq War, without any basis for questioning the intelligence on Russia’s hacking of our political institutions.
So it’s not as if he has looked at the body of intelligence and drawn a different conclusion – far from it. He is basing his conclusion solely on the fact that he doesn’t want it to be true. It’s not in his political interest to be true. And that’s a frightening thing because it means that if candidate Donald Trump will ignore the intelligence as he did, President-elect will ignore the intelligence as he’s doing now, it means that President Trump, when the intelligence community shares good, solid reporting, is going to ignore that when it doesn’t suit his interests. And that’s a dangerous thing for the country.
CHANG: So it sounds like you are worried that once Trump is president, how does he work with an intelligence community if he doesn’t trust that community’s intelligence.
SCHIFF: We have the best intelligence community in the world, the most incredible sources of information, both human and technological. We have people out there risking their lives every day to bring policymakers the very best information. And if the Trump team is going to ignore that information, if it’s going to belittle the intelligence community and degrade their work product, that’s going to be very damaging not only to the continued morale within the intelligence community and their ability to produce good intelligence, but also it’s going to be dangerous to the country because it means the very best insights that we can produce are going to be ignored. And that’s a real problem.