Intelligence? Donald Trump doesn’t need intelligence, at least not from those 17 “biased” U.S. agencies that say Russia helped hand him the White House. That might force our narcissist-elect to realize that perhaps the Kremlin cultivated him because they thought he’d be bad for America.
It’s disturbing enough that the Donald says he doesn’t need daily intelligence briefings and doesn’t trust our intelligence agencies. Now, he’s got some seriously scary backup in the form of former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), who once led the House Intelligence Committee.
On Wednesday evening, Hoekstra appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room and managed to shock his host, Jim Sciutto. First, he claimed that U.S. intelligence agencies can’t always be trusted because they’ve given out “biased information” on things like ISIS and Benghazi. He then declared that Donald Trump should also look at data from foreign intelligence agencies, such as Israel’s, which is “just another source” of information.
That’s right. This guy thinks we can trust intelligence from a nation whose military receives $10.2 million in U.S. aid per day, and which U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called out on Wednesday for stirring up trouble in the Middle East by building illegal settlements in disputed territory.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra has no issue with that. Instead, he insists that by refusing to accept evidence from 17 U.S. intelligence agencies that prove the Russians meddled in the 2016 election, Donald Trump’s sending them a message.
‘I think what Donald Trump is doing, is Donald Trump is putting the intelligence community on notice. That he expects them to deliver quality information in an unbiased format so that he will be equipped to make the best decisions possible as Commander in Chief. Sending that signal to the intelligence community is absolutely fine.’
“Unbiased format?” As in not biased towards the interests of the nation he will soon be leading? Jim Sciutto demanded to know how the heck Donald Trump can decide what “quality” information is when he has zero knowledge of U.S. foreign policy, no desire to learn, and no intention of listening to the professionals.
‘How will he judge when it’s quality? When it’s quality intelligence? What will be his basis of deciding that?’
Pete Hoekstra tilted his plump, pink, ovoid head, peered through his glasses, and chirped:
‘I think one of the things he’ll do is go out and get information from a number of different sources.’
“Outside the intelligence community?” the Situation Room host who is not Wolf Blitzer queried. Hoekstra cheerily replied:
‘I think so, absolutely. One of the things that I have found since I’ve left the intelligence community and left Congress is the number of other places that you can go and get very good information — and I did this when I was in Congress as well, as when I was on the intelligence committee.’
Hoekstra sounded like someone talking about finding drug dealers. Somehow, Jim Sciutto determined that he meant intelligence agents from foreign governments.
‘So you’re saying the president of the United States should take the intelligence assessments of another country’s intelligence agencies over his own?’
The former House Intelligence Committee leader denied he was saying what he was actually saying.
‘No, I didn’t say that at all. What I’m saying is that he has other places that he can get intelligence from that he can use to test the quality and the accuracy of the information that he is getting from his own intelligence community.’
He then admitted that while he was head of the House Intelligence Committee, he often got the 411 from “other countries.”
‘On the Intelligence Committee, I can tell you, I got intelligence frequently from other countries. It may have come through the intelligence community or it may have come through from other places that I could use to test the validity of the information that I was getting from the U.S. intelligence community.’
Whether Hoekstra’s GOP colleagues knew about his on-the-down-low intelligence gathering, we may never know, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
‘There’s nothing wrong with that. That information, some of it comes in classified, some of it does not. But there’s no reason why you have to accept at face value everything that you get from our intelligence community.’
It’s scary that experienced GOP stalwarts like Pete Hoekstra — who should be serving as a steadying influence — are instead sending Donald Trump even further off the deep end with their blessing.
Watch: Ex-GOP Rep. Pete Hoekstra shocks CNN’s Jim Sciutto with his views on intelligence gathering.
Featured image: Video screen grab via CNN’s The Situation Room