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Letters: Friction between Donald Trump and intelligence chiefs

Reader letters to Newsday for Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019

FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel

FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testify at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats" on Jan. 29. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee

President Donald Trump doesn’t need a CIA intervention, as Sen. Chuck Schumer said. The CIA needs an intervention to correct its pitiful performance.

The CIA was wrong about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, blindsided by the rise of the Islamic State during the Obama administration, and misjudged the progress of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Trump says our spy agency leaders should “go back to school” [“Tweets undercut intel,” News, Jan. 31]. It appears they never even made it to kindergarten.

Richard Reif,Kew Gardens Hills

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates, CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee about their assessment of worldwide threats [“Intel: North Korea, not Mexico border, real threat to U.S.,” News, Jan. 30]. The assessment contradicted claims by President Donald Trump.

Trump tweeted Jan. 30 that his “intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” He tweeted that “Three separate caravans are marching to our Border” and demanded “a Wall or Physical Barrier.”

Other tweets downplayed the significance of threats in North Korea, Syria and Afghanistan; of Russian election meddling; of Chinese cyberattacks; and of Islamic State terrorism. On Jan. 31, after meeting with the three intelligence chiefs, Trump tweeted that their testimony was “mischaracterized by the media.”

On Jan. 28, Trump cited frigid weather and tweeted, “What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast.” The intelligence assessment cited climate change as another national security threat — not a joke.

Trump chronically dismisses his own intelligence community while manufacturing lies and crises that benefit him politically.

Hank Cierski,Port Jefferson Station

President Donald Trump said his intelligence experts were wrong. He should be compelled to disclose the source of his contrary intelligence. The intelligence community must document its sources. He should have to document his.

John Weishahn,Islip

Editor’s note: The writer is a former Army intelligence analyst.

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