Former CIA Director James Woolsey, a well-acknowledged intelligence pro, resigned from Donald Trump’s transition team Thursday after the president-elect spent the better part of a week tweeting his doubts over intelligence reports that claim Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election and indicating shakeups in the intelligence structure are to come under his administration.
Woolsey, whose prominence in the intelligence community lent gravitas to Trump’s transition team, was increasingly left out of intelligence discussions, the Washington Post cited Woolsey advocates as saying.
“Jim is very uncomfortable being considered an adviser in an area where one might consider him an expert when he is not involved in the discussions,” the Post quoted a person close to Woolsey as saying. “To be called ‘senior adviser’ and your opinion is not sought is something he cannot handle.”
Trump has dismissed intelligence findings that Russian hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other organizations and parties affiliated with Trump rival Hillary Clinton to influence the election in his favor. He seemingly threw in behind Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who released a steady stream of emails purloined from Clinton and her associates. “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked [Clinton Campaign Manager John] Podesta ‘ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!” Trump tweeted after Assange wrapped an interview with Sean Hannity in which he denied receiving the leaked emails from Russia.
But intelligence agencies have pinpointed what they say are the intermediaries that passed the information from Russian operatives to WikiLeaks, CNN reported.
Trump also is eyeing a revamp of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, a move that prompted House Intelligence Committee member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), to say that “any move to arbitrarily slash the office will diminish its effectiveness and reverse many of the important gains we had made since 9/11.”
Schiff added that “to propose changing the CIA’s operational structure because of loose allegations of politicization — claims based on nothing more than the Agency’s willingness to contradict the President-elect’s preferred version of events — would be a mistake of the highest order.”
Trump’s alleged plans stunned Woolsey, the Post reported.
“Effective immediately, Ambassador Woolsey is no longer a Senior Advisor to President-Elect Trump or the Transition,” Woolsey spokesman Jonathan Franks said in a statement. “He wishes the President-Elect and his Administration great success in their time in office.”
Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said “there is no truth to this idea of restructuring the intelligence community infrastructure. It is 100 percent false,” CBS News reported. The President-elect Thursday tapped former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats as director of national intelligence.