President-elect Donald Trump, a neophyte when it comes to security issues, reportedly has declined daily intelligence briefings, leaving the details to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday Trump has decided instead to concentrate on filling key national security posts.
A senior official who is privy to the same briefings President Barack Obama receives told the Post receiving such briefings would help bring Trump up to speed on world events.
“Trump has a lot of catching up to do,” the official told the Post.
Trump has received just two briefings since he claimed victory, the first within days of the election and the second Tuesday before he headed to Florida for Thanksgiving, the Post said.
The President’s Daily Brief is a classified document summarizing key security developments and insights from 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. It also updates covert CIA programs and typically is delivered each morning.
“The last three presidents-elect used the intelligence briefings offered during the transition to literally study the national security issues that they would be facing and the world leaders with whom they would be interacting as president,” Michael Morell, former deputy CIA director who supported Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, told the Post.
“The president-elect is missing out on a golden opportunity to learn about the national security threats and challenges facing our nation, knowledge that would be extremely valuable to have when he takes the oath of office and when he steps into the Situation Room for the first time.”
Trump also has yet to meet with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has submitted his resignation, or other top intelligence officials except for Adm. Mike Rogers, who is the director of the National Security Agency and is said to be in the running to replace Clapper.
Trump selected Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the CIA and retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn as his national security adviser.
Flynn is an anti-Islamist who has said Islamist militancy poses an existential threat to the United States. He served as Trump’s national security adviser during the campaign and seems to have the same loose relationship with facts that has been a Trump trademark.
His Flynn Intel Group consulting business has ties to Middle Eastern countries, the New York Times reported, adding he took a paid speaking engagement with Russia Today and sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the network’s anniversary party in Moscow. He has labeled the current administration’s reluctance to use the description “radical Islamic terrorism” as “the worst kind of political correctness.”
Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, is a foe of the Iran nuclear deal and has called former NSA secrets leaker Edward Snowden a traitor who should be put to death. He also is a proponent of harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding.
Pompeo fought administration efforts to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, blocking efforts to move the prisoners to the mainland and downplaying hunger strikes at the facility.