A senior counterintelligence official claims that agents working within the FBI and CIA are “thriving” under the Trump administration.
Bill Evanina, the national counterintelligence executive, says media reports referring to an alleged “drop in morale” among the intelligence community are patently false.
“I don’t see a dip in morale,” he said. “The media created this morale issue.”
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Evanina then added that the media should write a story about how the intelligence community is not actually suffering from a problem with low morale.
Since the Trump administration took the reins of power in late January, numerous reports have suggested that morale has dropped significantly in the intelligence community.
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta himself said recently on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump was responsible for hurting morale.
“Every time he demeans the intelligence community or accuses it of leaks or accuses it of doing things that it’s not doing, that obviously impacts on the morale of that institution,” Panetta said.
Back in early January, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate that Trump’s public criticism of the intelligence community was likely putting a damper on enthusiasm.
Clapper also admitted that the agency hadn’t done any formal assessment of workforce attitudes.
“We haven’t done a climate survey, but I hardly think it helps,” he said.
In that same month, former CIA Director Michael Morell said that Trump’s questioning of the source of hacks that occurred during the 2016 presidential election undermined morale.
In December, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen said Trump’s attacks on the CIA will reduce morale.
But so far, these assessments have been delivered by high-level officials, most of them Obama appointees, as opposed to coming from analysts themselves and other on-the-ground staffers in the intelligence community.
Evanina delivered his remarks at a briefing Thursday put on by the cybersecurity think tank Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology.