Top intel chiefs break with Trump on Daesh, Iran, DPRK
- Author: Jon Douglas Feb 01, 2019,
Feb 01, 2019, 1:19
Trump also touted what he said were his successes in Syria, where he has alarmed allies by abruptly announcing a withdrawal of U.S. troops, and in North Korea, where he believes he can persuade reclusive leader Kim Jong-un to give up nuclear weapons.
A Syrian woman and child walk past the shuttered doors of a restaurant which was the site of a suicide attack targeting US-led coalition forces in the northern Syrian city of Manbij which killed four USA servicemen the previous day on January 17, 2019.
Dan Coat's testimony before the powerful Senate Committee assumes significance in view of ongoing investigations into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.
He said Iran was "coming very close to the edge" and suggested: "Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!".
In response to questions from lawmakers, Coats said the administration has "eyes wide open" in its talks with the Pyongyang regime, and "we are fully engaged in providing the essential intelligence needed".
In their annual report on security challenges to the country, the country's top spies also challenged Trump's claim that Tehran is actively seeking nuclear weapons, the justification Trump gave for withdrawing past year from a multilateral treaty on Iran. Mr. Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker promoted the facility as evidence that they were helping bring back manufacturing to middle America and the U.S.
Trump continued: "Be careful of Iran". He said afterwards that the two sides had made "a lot of progress" on denuclearization. He said the Islamic State's control in parts of Iraq and Syria "will soon be destroyed", and that there was a "decent chance of Denuclearization" in North Korea.
Trump also defended his decision to withdraw 2,000 USA troops from Syria on grounds that Islamic State no longer poses a threat, saying: "We've beaten them".
Zeese explained that the foreign policy stance of the intelligence chiefs has been in place for decades, and that no matter how strongly a USA president may fight to change it, it stays put.
The last summit, which took place in Singapore in June, was the first such event between a sitting USA president and a North Korean leader.
China and Iran may also seek to influence American politics, the assessment said.
Their views on relations with North Korea, Iran and Syria were conspicuously at odds with what Trump has said about those countries. He pointed to the North's halt in nuclear and missile tests, the return of some USA service members' remains and the release of detained Americans as signs of progress.
Trump's defense on Wednesday also serves to push back against wider criticism of some recent major foreign policy decisions.
In his tweets on Wednesday, Trump said negotiations with the Taliban to wind down the war in Afghanistan were "proceeding well". His testimony often contradicted Trump's past assertions.