“Deep state” officials are withholding intelligence from President Donald Trump, despite the fact that he is the nation’s commander-in-chief, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal published Wednesday evening.
Journal reporters Shane Harris and Carol E. Lee cite “current and former officials” who say that “U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised.”
The intelligence officials who are withholding the information are doing so because they fear that Trump could leak secrets to Russia, or because of political battles with the president, according to the anonymous sources cited in the Journal report.
While the White House told the Journal that it does not believe agencies are withholding information, theoretically there would be no way for White House officials to know. The Office of Director of National Intelligence also disputed the claims.
But if the report is true, it would compound growing suspicions that intelligence agencies are leaking classified information illegally to media outlets to damage and confuse the Trump administration.
On Wednesday, former CIA officer and 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin declared on CNN and Twitter that it was right for intelligence officials to leak illegally, because they had sworn an oath to protect the Constitution and the country. He described the president as a “security threat.”
The unfolding crisis is the most serious challenge to the Trump administration, still in its infancy. But it is also quickly enveloping the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Central Intelligence Agency as well, calling their public credibility into question.