Clapper Weighs in on Trump’s International Missteps (Report)
James Clapper, former US Director of National Intelligence appointed by Pres. Barack Obama, former director of Defense Intelligence and author of the recently published book, Facts and Fears, spoke to a luncheon at the WNDC on November 8.
Clapper discussed a number of hot spots in US international relations, in particular giving Trump poor marks for North Korea where Trump “squandered an opportunity.” According to Clapper, Trump didn’t read the signs Kim Jung Il was sending that he needed to feel secure from attack and invasion and needed some action from us to give that reassurance. He felt he had made a big gesture in pulling any missiles out of his latest parade and that we should have understood the importance of the signal. The U.S., Clapper said, could have had a win-win if we had established an interest section in North Korea. Instead all Trump can talk about is sanctions. South Korea, on the other hand, sends exactly the right message to the North that all we want is a more benign relationship.
Clapper said that the President mis-characterized the Intelligence community briefing on Russian interference in the 2016 election: “We never said that Russian meddling had no impact.” For Clapper, the Russian interference was uniquely disturbing.
Clapper made a strong case against attempts to privatize military intelligence and a case for robust USIA funding. He suggested, looking at his audience, that we “organize some sort of truth broker.”
— Elizabeth Spiro Clark, Chair, Committee on Public Policy and Political Action