What US President's intelligence briefing is and why Biden wants Trump out of loop

WION Web Team
New DelhiEdited By: Manas JoshiUpdated: Feb 06, 2021, 05:43 PM IST

A study published in the Journal of Democracy by Rachel Kleinfeld, an expert on troubled democracies, found that both Democrats and Republicans harboured high levels of “dehumanising thought”. 39 per cent of Democrats and 41 per cent of Republicans saw the other sight as “downright evil". 16 per cent of Democrats and 20 per cent of Republicans said their opponents were “like animals.” Photograph:(WION Web Team)

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Former US Presidents traditionally get intelligence briefings after they leave office. But there is a lot of reluctance to continue the same arrangement with Donald Trump

Any US President has a huge burden on his shoulders given US involvement in maintaining security in many corners of the world. The person at the helm of the most powerful country on the planet has a great responsibility as smallest of his decisions can have huge consequences in the real world. Internal security in the US is also a prime concern of a US President.

To help in the decision making, US intelligence agencies filter the essential information and prepare what is called Presidential Daily Brief.

What is President's Daily Brief?

President's Daily Brief (PDB) is essentially high-level analysis of national security issues, that is, a round-up of threats USA faces from within and outside the country. The inputs for the PDB are taken from US intelligence agencies including the CIA. Changes are also made to the PDB based on preferences of a particular president.

It has been customary for president-elect and vice-president-elect to read PDB of the current president during the transition period. Joe Biden read former US President George Bush's PDB after 2008 US Presidential election results. Presidents may share their PDB with vice-presidents while in office. Joe Biden has had that access while serving as vice-president during Barack Obama's presidency. And as he prepared to take the office in the run-up to his inauguration, he had access to Donald Trump's PDB.

Do former US Presidents get intelligence briefings?

Former US Presidents traditionally get intelligence briefings even after they leave office. This provision is made both, as a courtesy and as a way to keep former presidents abreast of security updates should they be asked for advice by the incumbent president.

Former US Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama are given regular intelligence briefings.

Incumbent US president may often informally call upon his predecessors to know their take on a particular issue. The briefings to the former presidents help them to be ready for such a scenario.

Why is Biden opposing briefings to Trump?

For starters, Trump is famous for disliking the intelligence briefs. He has been reluctant to sit for the briefings even when he was president.

On top of that, he is widely perceived to be one who is likely to use the top-secret information for gains other than merely political.

US President Joe Biden told CBS News that Trump's behaviour worried him.

“I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefings,” Biden has been quoted as saying.

Biden is not the only one to have such reservations.

Susan Gordon, a career CIA officer who was deputy director of national intelligence till 2019 feels iffy about continued intel briefings to Trump.

In January, Gordon wrote in Washington Post saying that Trump's business deals made him beholden to foreign investors and lenders. She said that Trump may be unusually vulnerable because of those who have ill intent.

Joe Biden has expressed his fears on Friday (February 6) that Trump "might slip and say something"