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Opinion

Readers React: Is Trump more concerned with his personal image than national security?

Senate Intelligence Committee Holds Hearing On Worldwide Threats
FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during Jan. 29 testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee as CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates listen.
(Win McNamee / Getty Images)

To the editor: President Trump’s mockery and ridicule of his intelligence chiefs after their joint appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Jan. 29 were not motivated by what he believed was faulty sources and methods. The president’s rebuke was personal in nature and poses a grave danger to our safety and well-being.

Testimony from the heads of CIA, the FBI and other agencies directly contradicts the president’s own conclusions on a number of national security issues. To Trump’s way of thinking, the like-minded analysis was an affront because he knows more than anybody about anything.

We can leave it to the professionals to argue whether this is delusional on the part of the president. In the meantime, the rest of us would be well-served if Trump was less concerned about threats to his image and more concerned about threats to our national security.

Jim Paladino, Tampa, Fla.

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To the editor: Former National Intelligence Council Chairman Gregory F. Treverton approvingly quotes Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats as saying, “Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.”

Even though Iran may be in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, not everything of great concern was covered by that agreement.

What is rarely mentioned is that the nuclear deal included a significant exemption on inspections of military complexes. One such complex, the site at Parchin near the capital city of Tehran, was cleared by inspectors in 2005. Then in 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency got a tip about Parchin but was refused access by the Iranians.

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Skillful and talented as the Iranian scientists are, they can certainly manage clandestine nuclear development at Parchin — to go with their known ballistic missile development.

Most of the world has been lulled into complacency by the periodic assurances that Iran is still complying with the 2015 deal. How can we be so naive?

Hugh Kilpatrick, Glendale

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To the editor: Trump has a well-known aversion to briefings or admitting there are things he does not know. Yet apparently he has gained command of foreign policy and national intelligence by a method not yet known to the rest of the world.

The president seems to have found a way around the traditional paths to knowledge that we mortals must use (observation, reading, listening to experts, analysis and more). You simply proclaim yourself to be a master of any subject, and eventually people will believe you.

Who knew it could be so easy to acquire insight and comprehension on complicated world issues?

Mary Franklin, Huntington Beach

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