Skeptic Trump gets 1st classified intelligence briefing
New York — Donald Trump has received his first classified intelligence briefing, meeting with national security officials for more than two hours on Wednesday.
The celebrity businessman became entitled to the briefings once he officially became the Republican nominee for president. The briefing was delivered by career staffers from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and was expected to cover major threats and emerging concerns around the world.
The afternoon briefing was held at an FBI field office at a federal building in New York City, a facility which has the secure rooms required for such sensitive briefings. Trump did not speak to reporters upon entering or exiting the building and a campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the briefing.
But Trump, in an interview that aired just hours before the briefing, suggested he would be skeptical of its contents when he was asked if he trusted the nation’s intelligence materials.
“Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country,” Trump told Fox News. “I mean, look what’s happened over the last 10 years ... it’s been catastrophic.”
Trump brought along some top advisers, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, to the briefing. A U.S. intelligence official said that generally, advisers who attend the briefings must have appropriate security clearances. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to disclose information about the candidates’ intelligence briefings.
Defense Intelligence Agency says that the agency maintains security clearances for all its former directors, including Flynn, who served in the post from 2012-2014.
The briefing came two days after Trump delivered a speech on national security and just hours after he gathered several advisers for a security round table at Trump Tower.
The advisers, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, encouraged the GOP nominee to press for more surveillance and more information-sharing with local police departments to fight terror threats if he’s elected president. The FBI does share with local police agencies through Joint Terrorism Task Forces.
It wasn’t clear whether Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton has received an intelligence briefing.