There is growing concern among US government officials that Donald Trump could reveal state secrets for his own personal gain or simply for public spectacle after he leaves office, considering that this is something that he has done frequently as president.
Every president is obviously briefed extensively on classified information during their time in office, and in most cases, they take these secrets with them to the grave. Insiders are concerned that this may not be the case with Trump, who has shown little respect for the intelligence agencies in charge of these secrets.
David Priess, a former CIA officer and author of “The President’s Book of Secrets,” said that Trump’s money troubles and his personality make him a high-risk individual.
“Anyone who is disgruntled, dissatisfied or aggrieved is a risk of disclosing classified information, whether as a current or former officeholder. Trump certainly fits that profile,” Priess said, according to Chron.
Other experts don’t believe that Trump retained very much information during the intelligence briefings.
Jack Goldsmith, who ran the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department in the George W. Bush administration and is the co-author of “After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency,” believes that Trump will only have small pieces of the puzzle because he had a hard time paying attention to the reports, according to insider statements.
“A knowledgeable and informed president with Trump’s personality characteristics, including lack of self-discipline, would be a disaster. The only saving grace here is that he hasn’t been paying attention,” Goldsmith said.
Larry Pfeiffer, a veteran intelligence officer and former chief of staff to CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said that Trump’s large debts could make him a target for foreign intelligence agencies.
“People with significant debt are always of grave concern to security professionals. The human condition is a frail one. And people in dire situations make dire decisions. Many of the individuals who’ve committed espionage against our country are people who are financially vulnerable,” Pfeiffer said.
Meanwhile, Trump is clearing house at the Pentagon.
The Trump administration has moved to fire or replace numerous high-ranking officials in the US government. It is not clear if his plans are to influence the government as much as he can before he leaves, or if he is filling positions with loyalists so they will support his challenge of the election.
Multiple top Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, have been fired or forced to resign in the days since the election results were announced. After Esper’s departure was reported, four additional senior civilian officials with the Pentagon were also fired or forced to resign, including Esper’s chief of staff. Each high ranking official was replaced with someone who was loyal to Trump.
Esper was replaced by Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
Inside sources believe that the Trump administration now plans to fire and replace Esper’s under-secretaries.