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U.S. intelligence community fear sensitive information could be leaked: Report

St Petersburg News.Net - Saturday 18th February, 2017

WASHINGTON, U.S. - According to reports, U.S. intelligence officials are holding sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are reportedly concerned that the information could be compromised, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The White House disputed the report, telling WSJ, "There is nothing that leads us to believe that this is an accurate account of what is actually happening."

Former and current officials, however, said the action was an indication of the level of mistrust that was currently prevalent between intelligence officials and the Trump administration.

In particular, intelligence officials were reluctant to share their sources of information and the methods they used to obtain it, citing “the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government” as an example, the WSJ report stated.

WSJ said sources didn’t know of any instance in which “crucial information about security threats or potential plotting has been omitted” from intelligence briefings with the president.

The report did note that while it is not uncommon for the intelligence officials to withhold some information on their methods from presidents or Congress when it was required for the safety of their sources or agents, this was the first instance when information was withheld because of fear over trustworthiness or leaks.  

The intelligence community appeared particularly concerned about Trump and some members of his administration's relationship with Russia, amid concerns that some of the information they give the U.S. president could be leaked or compromised, according to current and formal officials, WSJ's report said.

The report further quoted Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who said, “I’ve talked with people in the intelligence community that do have concerns about the White House, about the president, and I think those concerns take a number of forms.”

“What the intelligence community considers their most sacred obligation is to protect the very best intelligence and to protect the people that are producing it,” he added.

The report was denied by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Any suggestion that the U.S. intelligence community is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true."

The president himself has been rather vocal in expressing his distrust of the intelligence community, more so in the aftermath of the resignation of Michael Flynn as his national security advisor.

On Wednesday he tweeted, "The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!"

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