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Biden Makes Decision on Giving Trump Access to Intel Briefings

President says former leader's 'erratic behavior' means there's 'no need' for him to get sensitive info
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2021 8:30 AM CST

(Newser) – Earlier this week, the White House was said to have been mulling whether to allow Donald Trump to have access to intelligence briefings, a courtesy typically extended to former presidents to keep them up to date in case their advice is sought in the future. President Biden has since announced his decision, and it's a no, he told CBS Evening News anchor Norah O'Donnell on Friday, per CBS News. "I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefings," Biden said, noting he'd come to that conclusion due to Trump's "erratic behavior" even before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. CNN reports that, when pressed about what could possibly happen if Trump were to receive the briefings, Biden added, "I'd rather not speculate out loud." Instead, he asked: "What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?"

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The New York Times—which notes that former presidents Obama, Clinton, Bush, and Carter all regularly receive the briefings—documents instances during Trump's presidency when his handling of intelligence raised eyebrows, including when he spilled a highly classified bit of intel about ISIS to Russian officials in 2017; that intelligence had come from Israel, and Israel wasn't pleased. In addition to possible slip-ups, some fear Trump may "use, or twist, intelligence to fit his political agenda" if he decides to make another run for office, per the Times. A senior Biden administration official has told CNN that Trump—who the outlet notes was said to have not fully or regularly read his President's Daily Brief of highly sensitive info, opting instead to be orally briefed—hasn't yet made any inquiries on receiving any briefings. O'Donnell's full interview with Biden will air at 4pm ET on Super Bowl Sunday. (Read more intelligence briefing stories.)

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