There is nothing unusual about sharing intelligence, even sensitive intelligence. The United States does regular intelligence sharing with the English-speaking countries, and the United States and UK are particularly generous in the process of sharing. The CIA shares intelligence with key NATO, and conducts semi-annual meetings to share intelligence with Israel and Egypt. But it is most unusual for the president of the United States to take the lead role in sharing intelligence.
It is extremely unlikely that the president, particularly the current occupant of the White House, would have an in-depth understanding of the sources and methods involved in a particular piece of intelligence. National security adviser H.R. McMaster even acknowledged that President Trump was never briefed on the sources and methods for the shared information or even understood the sensitivity of the report. This alone is an indictment of the president’s national security staff and particularly the National Security Council, which failed to bring the president up-to-speed regarding sensitive details. Twenty-four hours after we learned about Trump’s unusual exchange with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, McMaster had still not discussed the matter with Tom Bossert, the president’s advisor on intelligence matters that concern homeland security, who took it upon himself to warn the CIA and the NSA about the obvious breach.
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CIA Creates a Mission Center to Counter China
You have to wonder what in the world Burns’ mediocre predecessors (John Brennan and Mike Pompeo) were thinking in creating mission centers regarding Iran and North Korea which represented little threat to the United States. But my second reaction is less facetious and more serious: why is the United States—its president, its politicians, its pundits—hell-bent on creating a Cold War environment and arms race with China? Burns told his work force last week that China is “our toughest geopolitical test in a new era of great power rivalry.”