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Opinion

Opinion: Donald Trump needs to stop insulting our intelligence community

Donald Trump
President-elect Donald Trump tapped into the frustrations of the widely ignored white working class.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

To the editor: President-elect Donald Trump has already managed to seriously undermine our national security. Before availing himself of full security briefings, he not only questioned the conclusions of our intelligence agencies on Russian meddling in the presidential campaign, he also publicly mocked the agencies. This undermines their credibility and effectiveness, eroding the safety of all Americans. (“Trump hurts himself and the nation by trashing the intelligence community,” editorial, Jan. 5)

Why would Trump do this? It seems clear that there are only two possible reasons: One is that he doesn’t want to jeopardize his business relationships in Russia (and since he has been so secretive regarding his tax returns and business relationships, this possibility cannot be discounted). The second (and more disturbing) reason could simply relate to Trump’s personal insecurity. It’s reasonable to believe that Trump’s attacks on our intelligence establishment are simply a result of the suggestion being made that Russian hacking may have influenced the results of the 2016 election in his favor.

A president whose personal business dealings or fragile ego jeopardize the safety of Americans is not fit to hold office.

Matthew Singerman, Newbury Park 

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To the editor: It appears not only that Trump tried to ignore our intelligence agencies, but according to recent reports, he also plans to make cuts to many of them as well. 

Those of us who have worked for the federal government know what an action like that will mean. The most knowledgeable and experienced long-term employees will retire, leaving an employee base that is dedicated but less able to interpret the threats to our country and the world.

It is extremely frightening to those of us who have lived through world wars and terrorism to know that the next president wants to “slim down” the federal agencies that work to keep us safe. These agencies allow the government to know what dangerous activities are going on. 

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How on Earth can Trump even consider such a thing? Our nation is not made safer when leaders close their eyes to the reality of terrorism and other threats. 

The sad thing is that if a terror attack happens again in our nation, Trump (after cutting back) will probably blame these agencies for not seeing in advance that something like that might happen. 

Carol Smith, Cerritos

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To the editor: Trump’s comments regarding the assessment of Russia’s involvement in computer hacking offer an opportunity for journalists to provide context to Trump’s reference to “faulty intelligence” that lead to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and his attempt to use that as an excuse to disregard recent reports on Russia’s actions. 

In fact, it has been shown that the Bush administration — especially Vice President Dick Che- ney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell — cherry-picked intelligence to make the case for invading Iraq.

Sadly, Trump has chosen to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s versions of the truth and suggested that the intelligence community is against him. We should pray that career employees in the security agencies, though mocked and ridiculed by Trump, will continue to do their work as professionals.

We must have a strong free press (this appears to really annoy the president-elect) to provide critical information when Trump attempts to dumb down complex issues.

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Dane Tovey, San Diego

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