Biden considers revoking Donald Trump's right to national security briefings

Thomas Veil

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Yes! This.

Trump’s done it for several of our former intelligence agency heads, for no other reason than that they criticized him.

Mr. Loose Lips, on the other hand, should not be privy to any intelligence he can share with others, particularly his buddy Vlad.

Do it. It’s a no-brainer.
 

lizkat

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well it may take months for him to notice since he tended to avoid those meetings. but would anyone still be willing to translate it into pics for him now?

Yeah far into his term in office, he only had his briefer come in twice a week, pictures or no.

If Trump's advisors had half a brain amongst them they'd advise him to say right now he doesn't need the briefings.

Why? Because if I were the current DNI, I might reasonably enough think to have someone salt a few plausible sounding tidbits in there that are just for him, and just to see if they then pop up somewhere else, which could only happen if Trump is the source. Let's face it, it would only be a matter of time.

There's a lot of things Trump has been able to talk his way out of, but that kind of lapse would be a horse of a whole other brand when Trump and the GOP are not the ones running the show. He spent plenty time in his 2016 campaign and in the WH disrespecting our intel agencies, so should not be surprised if what went around comes around to bite him in the behind, despite any efforts he may have made to plant loyalists in our national security structures.
 
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Eric

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Yes! This.

Trump’s done it for several of our former intelligence agency heads, for no other reason than that they criticized him.

Mr. Loose Lips, on the other hand, should not be privy to any intelligence he can share with others, particularly his buddy Vlad.

Do it. It’s a no-brainer.
There are two parts to this, first is that he's patently too dangerous and chances are better than not that he would use it against us. However, on the other hand he has the attention span of a goldfish and the comprehension of a second grader, plus he never followed them when he was in office so we're probably okay anyway.
 

Scepticalscribe

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Fascinating.

Actually, I hadn't thought of that, but I think that the idea put forward by both @lizkat & @Thomas Veil - feeding the loathsome Mr Trump harmless, or peculiar - or, at the very least, easily traceable - stuff to see whether it surfaces somewhere where it shouldn't, to be an excellent idea.

However, while it is clear that Mr Trump cannot be trusted with national security briefings, and that Mr Biden is right to consider revoking Mr Trump's right of access to same, this is something I would prefer not to become a precedent, for, it could become yet another nasty little tool to be deployed as petty revenge in a post transition environment.

I think that while Mr Trump's right of access to such briefings should be revoked, and Mr Biden is perfectly right to do so, it should also be made clear that this is not considered a precedent, but, rather an aberration, on account of the peculiar nature of Mr Trump's tenure.

This is because - for a currrent President - former presidents can quite often serve as a very useful (and, irrespective of political complexion loyal, and supportive) source of advice and counsel and experience and knowledge to a current administration.
 
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U

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I hadn't thought of that, but I think that the idea put forward by both @lizkat & @Thomas Veil - feeding the loathsome Mr Trump harmless, or peculiar - or, at the very least, easily traceable - stuff to see whether it surfaces somewhere where it shouldn't, to be an excellent idea.
I'd agree with anybody else. But with someone as cognitively incontinent as Trump it would be a meaningless exercise, because he'd leak all over the place.
 

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I'd agree with anybody else. But with someone as cognitively incontinent as Trump it would be a meaningless exercise, because he'd leak all over the place.

It is not just that he is "cognitively incontinent" as you so eloquently express it, - that is one thing - but, there is another aspect to this, and it is that he is also downright dangerous, in that we don't yet know (definitively) to whom he may be - or may have been - beholden.
 

thekev

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I'd agree with anybody else. But with someone as cognitively incontinent as Trump it would be a meaningless exercise, because he'd leak all over the place.

It's not just that. If you look at computer security policies, one viable method of mitigating threats is not to unnecessarily disclose information. I can't think of any real practical reasons why former presidents need to receive security briefings beyond it being a matter of convention. Even if he was known for being responsible, he would be receiving intelligence that he doesn't have the authority to act upon, since he's no longer serving.
 
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It is not just that he is "cognitively incontinent" as you so eloquently express it, - that is one thing - but, there is another aspect to this, and it is that he is also downright dangerous, in that we don't yet know (definitively) to whom he may be - or may have been - beholden.
It's not just that. If you look at computer security policies, one viable method of mitigating threats is not to unnecessarily disclose information.
My comments aside on his cognitive shortcomings. It takes a lot of cognitive work on my end not to consider him a Russian asset. A lot.

I can't think of any real practical reasons why former presidents need to receive security briefings beyond it being a matter of convention. Even if he was known for being responsible, he would be receiving intelligence that he doesn't have the authority to act upon, since he's no longer serving.
It's a nice policy for some good insider trading tips...:D
 

thekev

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It's a nice policy for some good insider trading tips...:D

I suppose so, but I'm thinking more about public interest than personal interests here. Ex-presidents give up a number of other privileges associated with the presidency when stepping out of office. They can no longer freely access the Oval Office. It seems like this should just be another one of them. If Biden revokes Trump's access to security briefings and the next president does the same with Biden, I don't see that as problematic.
 
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I suppose so, but I'm thinking more about public interest than personal interests here. Ex-presidents give up a number of other privileges associated with the presidency when stepping out of office. They can no longer freely access the Oval Office. It seems like this should just be another one of them. If Biden revokes Trump's access to security briefings and the next president does the same with Biden, I don't see that as problematic.
Agree.
 

Scepticalscribe

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I can't think of any real practical reasons why former presidents need to receive security briefings beyond it being a matter of convention.
Former presidents - if consulted by a serving president - can bring a lot of experience, (not just of being in office, but the fact that they can remember what it feels like), knowledge, objectivity (they are less likely to be swayed by party considerations and much more likely to consider the national interest) and support, to the act of giving, or tendering advice, and can be a very valuable resource to a serving president.
 

Eric

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Former presidents - if consulted by a serving president - can bring a lot of experience, (not just of being in office, but the fact that they can remember what it feels like), knowledge, objectivity (they are less likely to be swayed by party considerations and much more likely to consider the national interest) and support, to the act of giving, or tendering advice, and can be a very valuable resource to a serving president.
Obama was known for this, not sure about Bush necessarily but he would often bring in Republicans to get their point of view on things. IMO it's smart to listen to the other side, when you don't you get a monster like Trump.
 

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Obama was known for this, not sure about Bush necessarily but he would often bring in Republicans to get their point of view on things. IMO it's smart to listen to the other side, when you don't you get a monster like Trump.

Plus, they can also be used as a discreet backdoor way of ascertaining stuff, or passing on a message - and being seen as a credible messenger - under the radar to others.

From what I can ascertain - and @yaxomoxay, formerly of this parish would have been able to confirm this - I cannot think of a president (irrespective of political complexion) over the past 40 years who hasn't also availed of the services of Dr Kissinger.

Once these individuals have served as president, they are rarely consumed by - or constrained by - party needs, and can devote themselves to the national interest, especially in international relations or foreign affairs.

And, they are usually more than willing to be called upon by a serving president, and can give informed, impartial, knowledgeable, objective and supportive counsel and advice.

Donald Trump, of course, is an exception to this, as he is an exception to so much else.
 
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lizkat

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Fascinating.

Actually, I hadn't thought of that, but I think that the idea put forward by both @lizkat & @Thomas Veil - feeding the loathsome Mr Trump harmless, or peculiar - or, at the very least, easily traceable - stuff to see whether it surfaces somewhere where it shouldn't, to be an excellent idea.

However, while it is clear that Mr Trump cannot be trusted with national security briefings, and that Mr Biden is right to consider revoking Mr Trump's right of access to same, this is something I would prefer not to become a precedent, for, it could become yet another nasty little tool to be deployed as petty revenge in a post transition environment.

I think that while Mr Trump's right of access to such briefings should be revoked, and Mr Biden is perfectly right to do so, it should also be made clear that this is not considered a precedent, but, rather an aberration, on account of the peculiar nature of Mr Trump's tenure.

This is because - for a currrent President - former presidents can quite often serve as a very useful (and, irrespective of political complexion loyal, and supportive) source of advice and counsel and experience and knowledge to a current administration.

It must be (and I think does seem) obvious to the leaders of both parties that Trump's presidency caused some undesirable "first occurrences" in terms of breaching not only a lot of norms and protocols but some actual rules of the road (whether or not very many in the GOP wish to go on public record about the latter so far).

And going forward I'd expect leaders of both parties to refer (at least privately with each other) to such breaches by Trump as exactly that: breaches of expectations, not precedents or a roadmap to future behavior by an executive of either party.≠≠

But I've assumed there that the pro-Trump faction of this version of the GOP does not manage to carry the Republican Party's banner alone going forward. Might not be a sound assumption... time will tell.

Meanwhile I don't think our past presidents have been eager to butt into presidential decision-making once they leave office. I do think they've been generous with counsel if asked and provided whatever classified info they might require to provide useful input. But each (up until Trump) has carried the weight of the world on shoulders for four or eight years. It's a tough job and retirement to a smaller bailiwick has doubtless seemed very appealing.

I figure best thing is leave it up to the guy in the Oval Office to decide about briefing predecessors on classified matters... after having discussions with those individuals about it. After all, everyone with access does sign an understanding about nondisclosure when their access is given, about how that's a lifetime commitment.

However, I can see Mitch calling up Joe to say about Trump "you're not going to give him intel briefings when he leaves, right?" -- even though some are fond of calling McConnell "Moscow Mitch".
 
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