Now that the United States elected Joe Biden to be the 46th president, most of us are worried about the damage Donald Trump will do. Trump is already doing damage by continuing to sow doubt in the election results, but what’s also concerning is that he might be a risk to national security as a former president. We’ve never had to worry about this before, but we’ve also never had a narcissistic rage-machine at the helm — but here we are.
The Washington Post reports why we should be anxious about this, and that’s because Trump has done it before:
As president, Donald Trump selectively revealed highly classified information to attack his adversaries, gain political advantage and to impress or intimidate foreign governments, in some cases jeopardizing U.S. intelligence capabilities. As an ex-president, there’s every reason to worry he will do the same, thus posing a unique national security dilemma for the Biden administration, current and former officials and analysts said.
It’s also worth noting that Trump is deeply in debt, with close to half of a billion dollars due in loans at the start of 2021. Meaning, Trump could be easily compromised. And Trump always seems to seek retaliation on his perceived enemies — and the country just rejected him.
“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,” former CIA officer David Priess told the news outlet.
“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,” said Jack Goldsmith, who ran the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department in the George W. Bush administration, the Washington Post reports.
This isn’t very comforting:
“The president is going to run into and possibly absorb a lot of the capacity and capabilities that you have in intelligence,” said John Fitzpatrick, a former intelligence officer and expert on the security systems used to protect classified information, including after a president leaves office. The kinds of information Trump is likely to know, Fitzpatrick, said, include special military capabilities, details about cyber weapons and espionage, the kinds of satellites the United States uses and the parameters of any covert actions that, as president, only Trump had the power to authorize.
“People with significant debt are always of grave concern to security professionals,” Larry Pfeiffer, a veteran intelligence officer and former chief of staff to CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, told the outlet. “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.”
It’s absolutely mind-boggling that we’re at this point, but Trump, who has refused to reveal his tax returns, is in a fuckton of debt. And most of us suspected that. Trump came into office with many conflicts of interest and refused to divest.
You can read the full report here.