On Tuesday, the heads of America's intelligence agencies testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee about their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and other intelligence chiefs warned about the continued threats from the Islamic State, Russia and China, cyber-warfare, and the enduring nuclear threat from North Korea. They said Iran is not taking steps to develop nuclear weapons and is in compliance with the nuclear deal negotiated with President Barack Obama. And they barely mentioned Mexico.
"Their analysis stands in sharp contrast to [President] Trump’s almost singular focus on security gaps at the border as the biggest threat facing the United States," and it directly contradicts Trump on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, and Russia, The Associated Press notes. "None of the officials said there is a security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, where Trump has considered declaring a national emergency so that he can build a wall," The Washington Post says, though the U.S. intelligence chiefs "tried to avoid directly questioning administration policies," The New York Times adds.
The 42-page Worldwide Threat Assessment also found that current U.S. trade policies and "unilateralism" have harmed traditional U.S. alliances and sent some foreign allies looking for other relationships. And the intelligence chiefs weren't the only ones implicitly criticizing Trump's "America first" policy. Foreign enemies "want to see us abandon our friends and our allies," Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said at the hearing. "They want to see us lessen our global presence. They want to see us squabble and divide. But their tools are different."
Senators also pressed the intelligence chiefs about reports that White House officials had overruled CIA security specialists in awarding Jared Kushner top secret security clearance, NBC News reports. "Coats responded that all the intelligence agencies could do is provide information, and it was up to the White House to decide who gets access to the nation's secrets."