Trump Seeking To Bring In Business Executive To Review Intelligence Agencies

 

After dealing with an intelligence community he believes to be short on loyalty, President Donald Trump is reportedly putting America’s intelligence-gathering agencies under the microscope.

The New York Times reported Thursday that intelligence officials fear that Trump ally Stephen A. Feinberg, who helped co-found Cerberus Capital Management, is being brought in by Trump to conduct an oversight review of the American intelligence community.

Although no official announcement has been made, the Times reported that Feinberg has told shareholders he is discussing an undisclosed job with the Trump administration.

 

Reuters last week framed Feinberg’s appointment as more structural than operational, saying that Feinberg’s role would be to develop a more streamlined function for the 17 different agencies in the intelligence community that collectively spend about $70 billion annually.

Trump, who has been critical of the intelligence community for months, has become even more emphatic in his attacks on leaked intelligence in the wake of the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was the target of various leaks.

“From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked; it’s criminal action. It’s a criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on,” Trump said Wednesday.

 

Trump’s own selections to oversee intelligence issues are caught in the confirmation logjam. Trump picked former Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, to run the CIA and former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, to be the director of national intelligence.

Pompeo had his confirmation hearing last month, but has not been voted upon by the Senate. Coats has not yet had his confirmation hearing.

 

The issue of leaks also concerns House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and House Judiciary Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who have asked the Justice Department to investigate the torrent of leaks that have emerged since Trump took office.

“We have serious concerns about the potential protection of classified information here … the release of classified information can, by definition, have grave effects on national security. In light of this, we request that your office begin an immediate investigation into whether classified information was mishandled here,” they wrote.

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