Biden To Deprive Trump of Classified Intelligence Briefings Given to Former U.S. Presidents

"Joe Biden" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

In an interview set to be on air this Sunday, President Biden told CBS News that he does not believe former President Trump should continue to receive classified intelligence briefings, stating that “there’s no need” for him to receive it. This statement was made by Biden despite the fact that classified intelligence briefings are typically offered to former U.S. Presidents even after leave the office. 

Reporter Norah O’Donnell of CBS News asked Biden whether former President Trump should continue to have access to the intelligence briefings given to former U.S. Presidents after they leave the office. 

Biden answered, “I think not.” 

When O’Donnell pressed him to expound this idea further, Biden said it was because of former President Trump’s “erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection.”

O’Donnell then told Biden, “I mean, you’ve called him an existential threat, you’ve called him dangerous, you’ve called him reckless —”

“Yeah, I have, and I believe it,” Biden said. 

The CBS News host then asked Biden what is his worst fear if President Trump continues to receive intelligence briefings. To which Biden answered with, “I’d rather not speculate out loud. I just think that there’s no need for him to have the intelligence briefing. What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?”

Few days before Trump left the White House, Principle deputy director for national intelligence between 2017 and 2019, Susan M. Gordon, argued that former President Trump should not be given access to regular classified briefings because of his “post-White House security profile.” 

Gordon, who previously noted that bad actors could target all former Presidents, argued that Trump could particularly be “unusually vulnerable” to them because he wants to remain engaged in politics and policy.

In a statement that Gordon wrote for The Washington Post, she said, “In addition, Trump has significant business entanglements that involve foreign entities. Many of these current business relationships are in parts of the world that are vulnerable to intelligence services from other nation-states. And it is not clear that he understands the tradecraft to which he has been exposed, the reasons the knowledge he has acquired must be protected from disclosure, or the intentions and capabilities of adversaries and competitors who will use any means to advance their interests at the expense of ours.”

In addition to this, Gordon also maintained that Trump can always receive classified information on a “need to know” basis, in case he serves the country at “some point in the future.”

At present, four living former presidents – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barach Obama – receive intelligence briefings as a courtesy. This is also done in case an incumbent president needs advice. 

Meanwhile, earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that the idea of withholding intelligence briefings from former President Trump is “under review.” However, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House Intelligence Committee chairman, has been more definitive about the topic. 

Schiff told CBS News, “There’s no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future.” 

Said statement was made in the “Face The Nation” segment with host Margaret Brennan who asked Schiff whether he would advise the White House to end Trump’s access to intelligence briefings. 

Schiff said, “I don’t think he can be trusted with it now and in the future, he certainly can’t be trusted. Indeed, there were, I think, any number of intelligence partners of ours around the world who probably started withholding information from us because they didn’t trust the president would safeguard that information and protect their sources and methods.”

He continued and said, “And that makes us less safe. We’ve seen this president politicize intelligence, and that’s another risk to the country.”