US intel chiefs at odds with Trump claims on N. Korea, ISIS
They reject claims on Russia, ISIS, N. Korea and Iran
WASHINGTON US intelligence chiefs and President Donald Trump seem to still be at two ends of the spectrum over foreign policy after their latest pronouncements yesterday.
In a hearing on global threats at the Senate Intelligence Committee, the country's top spies took issue with Mr Trump's assertion that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had been defeated, and that North Korea could be convinced to forego its nuclear weapons.
They challenged his claim that Teheran is seeking nuclear weapons, the justification Mr Trump gave for withdrawing last year from a multilateral treaty on Iran.
And they also underscored again that Russia meddled deeply on Mr Trump's behalf in the 2016 presidential election - which he has repeatedly denied - and is expected to do the same in 2020.
Mr Trump responded by calling the top US intelligence chiefs "extremely passive and naive" on Iran and dismissed their assessments of the threat posed by North Korea.
"The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!" Mr Trump said in a Twitter post.
The hearing came weeks after Mr Trump cited victory over ISIS to justify his declaration of an immediate pullout from Syria - a move that alarmed the US defence establishment and its Middle East allies.
And it came before Mr Trump's planned second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for hoped-for denuclearisation talks.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the committee that the US intelligence community believe it is unlikely that Pyongyang will agree to completely denuclearise.
In his Twitter response yesterday, Mr Trump said: "North Korea relationship is best it has ever been with U.S. No testing, getting remains, hostages returned. Decent chance of Denuclearization... I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un shortly. Progress being made-big difference!"
Former CIA Director John Brennan duly responded on Twitter, saying that Mr Trump's refusal to accept the US intelligence community's assessments shows the extent of what he called the president's "intellectual bankruptcy".- AFP