Limiting Trump's Access to Classified Intel 'Absolutely the Right Decision': James Clapper

Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Monday he agrees with President Joe Biden's decision to cut off former President Donald Trump from classified intelligence.

Clapper told CNN on Monday "it is absolutely" the right decision to limit Trump's access to classified intelligence, citing at least two cases in the past where the president taunted foreign leaders and held such data over the heads of rival politicians. But most startling, Tapper said, is the former president's casual use of intelligence that he believes allowed the Russians to hack into multiple federal agencies and the Oval Office during his White House tenure. The CNN national security analyst has for years warned the U.S. intelligence community and Congress that Russia "turned" the 2016 election for Trump, and that won't be the Kremlin's last interference.

James Clapper: Biden curtailing Trump's access to intel briefings makes sense because he's "on occasion weaponized it against political opponents"

— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 8, 2021

"[Trump has] demonstrated a disdain for both the substance of intelligence as well as its protection. He's used it on occasion and weaponized it against political opponents, he's exposed it in both the Oval Office [and] with the Russians," Clapper said Monday, before highlighting a September 2019 incident in which Trump tweeted out a highly sensitive image pertaining to Iran's Imam Khomeini Space Center.

"Another example I can think of is use of overhead reconnaissance satellite imagery to taunt the Iranians about a mishap they have in their space or rocket program," Clapper added.

The former national intelligence chief said Trump's financial issues, including massive foreign debts and likely criminal investigations, leave the former president vulnerable to mishandling U.S. intelligence with or without his direct knowledge.

"Plus there is potential financial entanglements, there is debt, which to a normal person would be a real red flag for an a judicator or somebody deciding on whether someone should have access to classified information. So for all those reasons, I think this is absolutely the right decision," Clapper said.

Biden told CBS Evening News last week that Trump's "erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection" alone was already a reason to cut back on his access. When asked if he thinks Trump should receive intelligence briefings if he requested one, the president replied, "I think not."

"I'd rather not speculate out loud," Biden said Friday. "I just think that there is no need for him to have the...intelligence briefings. 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?"

Newsweek reached out to the National Intelligence offices in Washington as well as to representatives for Clapper Monday morning.

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Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Monday called limiting Donald Trump's access to classified intel "absolutely the right decision.” Here he testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on January 10, 2017. Joe Raedle/Getty Images