January 31, 2019
On January 28, the highest officials in the U.S. intelligence community—the FBI’s Christopher Wray, the CIA’s Gina Haspel, the State Department’s Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the National Security Agency’s Adm. Mike Rogers; and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s Robert Cardillo—spoke truth to the Senate Intelligence Committee during the Worldwide Threats hearing.
In doing so, they contradicted President Donald Trump’s own version of the truth.
Indeed, speaking without compunction, they testified that, while Iran is not currently seeking to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities, North Korea continues to do so—and is unlikely to give up its nuclear ambitions.
What’s more, the officials disagreed with the president’s viewpoint on terrorism—testifying that ISIS remains a threat to the United States despite Trump’s repeated comments that they have been defeated. They noted that, while ISIS has lost geographic ground, the group continues to build support for terrorist attacks worldwide.
Hacking and election interference also remain the go-to methods of manipulating the West. Coates said, “China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea increasingly [are using] cyber operations to threaten both minds and machines in an expanding number of ways —to steal information, to influence our citizens, or to disrupt critical infrastructure.”
And the threat from America’s two biggest global enemies continues to grow. Indeed, Coates warned the Senate panel, “Moscow’s relationship with Beijing is closer than it’s been in many decades.”
President Donald Trump did not take the pushbacks to his recent policy statements in stride. On Wednesday, The Hill reported, he blasted the intelligence leaders for being “wrong” about their new assessment on Iran’s nuclear developments.
“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning in a pair of tweets.
The president, who claimed Iran has recently tested rockets, also mocked the intelligence leaders in his administration, suggesting they “should go back to school.”
The Worldwide Threats testimony received heavy attention in the media for its contrast with Trump’s comments.
Research contact: @Olivia_Beavers