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The things that worry America’s intelligence community can’t be stopped by a wall.
U.S. intelligence heads went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday and described the threats facing America in terms quite different from those offered by the White House.
Coats wrote that China and Russia, which play starring roles in the Defense Department’s National Defense Strategy as America’s main competitors, are growing closer than ever. They are “more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950,” much to Washington’s discomfort, he said.
North Korea is still committed to developing nuclear missiles. ISIS, though weakened, still commands thousands of fighters. China’s reach into the global telecommunications industry presents an intelligence and security concern. Russia continues to sow disinformation to undermine the United States and its allies. It was a list of security problems that defied easy solutions. Agency heads and lawmakers seemed unsure what to do about the disconnect, besides talking more in a closed session. The issue of North Korea provided the starkest disconnect between the intelligence community and the White House. Emerging from list June’s unprecedented summit with leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump triumphantly declared, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” The president has since curbed his boasts — yet speaking to the United Nations in September, still tried to paint North Korea’s cessation of missile testing as evidence of a reduced threat. (Pyongyang has said that their ICBMs are now reliable enough to need no further tests.)
Coats painted a grim picture of the conflict with ISIS, which continues to command thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria. The group maintains eight branches, a dozen-plus networks, and followers around the world. In his written testimony, he highlighted the danger of a precipitous troop withdrawal from Syria, albeit indirectly. “The group will exploit any reduction in [counter-terrorism] pressure to strengthen its clandestine presence and accelerate rebuilding key capabilities, such as media production and external operations. ISIS very likely will continue to pursue external attacks from Iraq and Syria against regional and Western adversaries, including the United States,” he wrote[/exnewwww.defenseone.com...]
President Donald Trump lit into the U.S. intelligence community on Wednesday, telling his intel chiefs to "go back to school" just one day after they publicly contradicted him on several of his foreign policy priorities. "The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran," Trump wrote on Twitter. "They are wroTrump’s tweets were a direct rebuttal of the public testimony his top intelligence chiefs gave Tuesday morning while discussing the gravest threats to the U.S. worldwide.
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