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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

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Trump’s handpicked intelligence leaders were all forced to contradict Trump during a lengthy hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Trump’s boldest claims about North Korea, Iran, Russia, and ISIS are simply wrong, according to CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who testified about the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” report.

North Korea “is committed to developing a long-range nuclear-armed missile that would pose a direct threat to the United States,” Haspel said. Coats concluded that North Korea “will seek to retain its WMD capability and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capability.”

These statements, given under oath before Congress, stand in stark contrast to Trump’s frequent boasts after his on-again, off-again, on-again June 2018 meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. After their initial meeting, Trump claimed that there was no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.

He has continued to brag, without evidence, that he has made great progress with North Korea. But many reports, including one just a week ago, have revealed that the country is continuing work at more than a dozen secret ballistic missile sites.

As Trump brags about his non-existent success in North Korea, he has emphasized the supposed threats posed by Iran. But according to Coats, Iran is not “currently undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.”

When asked if Iran is upholding its end of the multi-party nuclear deal, Haspel admitted that Iran is, indeed, abiding by the agreement. One again, Trump’s own intelligence community contradicted Trump. When he broke America’s agreement with Iran and other countries last May, he said Iran would “be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”

Both Coats and Haspel also warned that Russia will try to interfere in the 2020 election in much the same way it did in the 2016 election. The threat assessment report warned about Russian election interference, as well as cyberattacks “to disrupt or damage U.S. civilian and military infrastructure during a crisis.”

Yet over and over again, Trump has sided with and defended Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. In one of the most humiliating moments in American foreign policy, Trump stood on stage next to Putin before a global press gathering last summer and took Putin’s side over that of American intelligence community.

Trump’s recent declaration that ISIS was defeated, which he used as part of his rationale for withdrawing American forces from Syria, is also wrong, according to U.S. intelligence leaders. The threat assessment report states that ISIS “still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria,” and has dozens of networks around the world.

Even Trump’s former envoy to the global coalition fighting ISIS said Trump was mistaken about the terrorist group being defeated. To the contrary, Trump’s decision to pull American forces out of Syria is tantamount to giving ISIS “new life.”

Trump has long been a global laughing stock, spending his time alienating allies and coddling adversarial regimes. Now his own intelligence chiefs are contradicting Trump, which is unsettling.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

 

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