A report has revealed that US intelligence agencies have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump, fearing it could be leaked or compromised.
The Wall Street Journal, citing both former and current officials, reported on Wednesday that the decision not to share information discloses the deep mistrust between the Trump administration and the intelligence community.
According to the report, some information presented to the commander-in-chief of the US military omitted sources and methods intelligence agencies use to collect information.
The officials said those sources and methods could include, for instance, the means that agencies use to spy on a foreign government. It is not clear how frequently officials have withheld details from Trump.
A White House official however told the Journal that “there is nothing that leads us to believe that this is an accurate account of what is actually happening.”
Trump on Wednesday reignited his fight with the intelligence agencies after he accused them of leaking “criminal” information to undermine him.
“From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked; it’s criminal action. It’s a criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy. Very un-American!” the president also tweeted the same day.
Last week, Trump accused US spy agencies of using Nazi tactics over leaking “fake news” and “phony stuff” about him to the media. His remarks were made after a news website, BuzzFeed, published a 35-page document containing unverified information — from an alleged former British spy – that claimed that Trump was caught in a compromising position in Russia.
The BuzzFeed document has also claimed that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin is in possession of “compromising” personal and financial information about Trump which it might use to blackmail the US president-elect.
In response, then CIA Director John Brennan said Trump had crossed a line by drawing a parallel between the US intelligence community and Nazi Germany.
Brennan told the Journal that “it’s the right and indeed the responsibility of the president of the United States to challenge the conclusions of the intelligence community.”