America’s top intelligence official on Tuesday publicly broke with President Donald Trump on several critical foreign policy fronts, saying North Korea is not likely to give up its nuclear weapons, and the Islamic State terrorist group, better known as ISIS, remains a forceful presence in Iraq and Syria.
Last month, Trump said ISIS has been defeated and that it’s time to start pulling troops out of Syria. But intelligence officials have stepped in and announced that the group is still a major threat. This has left the American people wondering if the President’s declaration was just “fake news.” So far, Trump has remained silent on the intelligence standoff.
So, how did these contradictions come to be? And who’s really correct?
Intelligence officials are required to give a presentation of global threats to the Senate every year. (Watch a video of this year’s committee here.) Usually, contradictions are rare, but let’s just say this isn’t the first time this has happened during the Trump presidency.
Yes, the group is still an issue. Since their start in 2014, the terror group has lost most of its territory in Iraq and Syria. Though Trump declared that the group had been defeated, intelligence officials announced that although the group has suffered significant ground losses, it still commands thousands of fighters and followers in the region.
And what about North Korea?
Well, we do know that North Korea is the only country to have tested nuclear weapons this century. Last year, Trump had a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un where the two leaders agreed to work toward “complete de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Trump had also announced that North Korea was no longer a threat, but again, intelligence officials have announced otherwise. They have also explained that it is unlikely North Korea will give up all of its nuclear stockpiles.
It’s also particularly noteworthy that there was no mention of the US-Mexico border “crisis” which the President considered declaring a national emergency over. It is also the issue at the center of the longest government shutdown. (See my article about this from last week HERE!)
The country’s top intelligence officials are contradicting the president on some of the facts behind today’s biggest security issues. The thing to watch now is whether it has any effect on US foreign policy, or if the president continues to march to the beat of his own drum.