Tuesday appearing before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee were Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats, FBI Director Chris Wray, and CIA Director Gina Haspel, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, as the News Blender reported Wednesday, ahead of the hearing DNI Coats released “the annual Statement for the Record Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community.”
In the 42-page report written by DNI Coats he writes that “China and Russia are more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950’s,” adding their relationship is likely to “strengthen in the coming year as some of their interests and threat perceptions converge, particularly regarding perceived US unilateralism and interventionism and Western promotion of democratic values and human rights.”
DNI Coats also explained both in the report and during the hearing before the Senate Committee that North Korea is “unlikely to give up all of its nuclear weapons and production capabilities, even as it seeks to negotiate partial denuclearization steps to obtain key US and international concessions.”
DNI Coats explains that ISIS still commands thousands of fighters in both Iran and Syria writing that the group “will exploit any reduction in CT pressure to strengthen its clandestine presence and accelerate rebuilding key capabilities, such as media production and external operations. ISIS very likely will continue to pursue external attacks from Iraq and Syria against regional and Western adversaries, including the United States.”
President Trump Wednesday morning took to Twitter to express his unhappiness with his Intelligence leaders threat assessment which included discussing the cyber threat presented by Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election.
From President Trump’s tweet January 30th, “Caliphate will soon be destroyed, unthinkable two years ago…”
In December President Trump declared on Twitter that ISIS’s had been defeated.
As the News Blender reported in early January, 4 American’s were killed when an ISIS’s affiliated terrorist detonated his suicide vest in the Syrian city of Manbij. On that same day Vice President Mike Pence told a gathering at the State Department that the “caliphate has crumbled, and ISIS has been defeated.”
He ended his morning on Twitter explaining that “the intellegence people seem to be extremely passive and naive,” on their assessment on Iran. He also explained “they are wrong!”
In his next tweet President Trump explained that “there [their] economy is now crashing” adding “be careful of Iran,” and he finished by declaring that maybe the “Intelligence should go back to school.”
DNI Coats thoughts on Iran:
- Iran continues to present a cyber espionage threat.
- We continue to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device. However, Iranian officials have publicly threatened to reverse some of Iran’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commitments—and resume nuclear activities that the JCPOA limits—if Iran does not gain the tangible trade and investment benefits it expected from the deal.
- The United States determined in 2018 that Iran is in noncompliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and we remain concerned that Iran is developing agents intended to incapacitate for offensive purposes and did not declare all of its traditional CW agent capabilities when it ratified the CWC.
- Iran almost certainly will continue to develop and maintain terrorist capabilities as an option to deter or retaliate against its perceived adversaries.
Opinion: There is more in the report but there is little if any passiveness or naivete I found within the threat assessment.
Former Director of the CIA John Brennan responded to President Trump’s tweet.
Former NSA analyst John Schindler also weighed in on President Trump’s attacking of the Intelligence community.
Chairman of the House Intel Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA) also weighed in on President Trump’s tweet.
For What It’s Worth.
Tuesday night, Lou Dobbs, blasted DNI Coats for his annual public threat assessment report and testimony wondering “what the hell is wrong with the DNI.” His guest, former Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council, Fred Fleitz also weighed in explaining that this public unclassified assessments should be done away with altogether.
Fred Fleitz was sworn in May 2018 and left the Trump Administration in October of that same year.
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong un are expected to hold their second meeting toward the end of February. The time and place have not been announced.