It's customary for former presidents to be in the loop on international developments, including classified information. In normal cases, former presidents have diplomatic connections and experience that can prove invaluable for the current government. So intelligence agents and officials have routinely provided classified briefings and given access to the nation's secrets. That needs to end with Donald Trump, some of these agents say, publicly.
David Priess was a CIA officer who used to brief former President George H.W. Bush on national security concerns in the Middle East. Now he says that Trump is a security risk and shouldn't get those briefings. He points to the revelation from The New York Times that Trump's $400 million debt is coming due soon. "Is that a risk?" said Priess. "If it were someone applying for a security clearance, damn right it would be a risk." Jack Goldsmith, a senior Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration concurs. "He's shown as president that he doesn't take secret-keeping terribly seriously," Goldsmith said. "He has a known tendency to disrespect rules related to national security. And he has a known tendency to like to sell things that are valuable to him."
Trump has a very long history of letting national security secrets out of the bag. Like right out of the gate when he was meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office and told them highly classified and sensitive intelligence information the U.S. had just received. Or the secret nuclear weapons system he blabbed about to Bob Woodward in interviews this year. Or when he disclosed classified information in his public announcement of the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Or when he blabbed to the president of the Philippines the location of two nuclear submarines that were near North Korea. Also when he was having a classified briefing about North Korea with the Japanese prime minister at Mar-a-Lago and a member of the club took pictures and posted it on Facebook. Oh, and the tweeting out a satellite photo of what experts said was an Iranian nuclear facility.
So, yeah, a bit of a security risk there. His abiding love for Vladimir Putin is also kind of concerning to many in national security. Doug Wise, a former CIA officer, writes at Just Security that as both a former president and potential 2024 candidate, "Trump could also remain politically active and by doing so the Russians could benefit from his nurturing chaos and inflaming divisiveness; all of this in exchange for partial or complete absolution of his hundreds of millions of dollars in loans."
Would Trump be able to clear a security clearance? Probably not, so that's all Biden would need to have to justify cutting off his access. "With Trump's unexplained finances, unclear relationships with shadowy Russian figures and espoused admiration for Russia and Putin this would easily make him ineligible for access to America's secrets. As it should be."
Posted with permission from Daily Kos.