President Donald Trump on Wednesday called top U.S. intelligence chiefs "extremely passive and naive" on Iran and dismissed their assessments of the threat posed by North Korea a day after they contradicted his views during congressional testimony.
Leaders of the U.S. intelligence community told a Senate committee on Tuesday that the nuclear threat from North Korea remained and that Iran was not taking steps toward making a nuclear bomb, drawing conclusions that contrasted starkly with Trump's assessments of those countries.
"The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!" Trump said in a Twitter post.
The Republican president cited Iranian rocket launches and said that Tehran was "coming very close to the edge."
"Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!" he said.
Trump last year pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran put in place under his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, saying Tehran was "not living up to the spirit" of the agreement, and re-imposed sanctions.
Under the 2015 deal, Iran and world powers lifted international sanctions on Tehran. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear activities, increasing the time it would need to produce an atom bomb if it chose to do so.
The U.S. intelligence officials told the Senate Intelligence Committee Iran was not developing nuclear weapons in violation of agreement, even though Tehran threatened to reverse some commitments after Trump pulled out of the deal.
Their assessments also broke with other assertions by Trump, including on the threat posed by Russia to U.S. elections, the threat that the Islamic State militant group poses in Syria and North Korea's commitment to denuclearize.
Trump has clashed with leaders of the U.S. intelligence community since even before he took office, most strikingly in disputing their finding that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election with a campaign of hacking and propaganda to help him win the presidency.
Former CIA Director John Brennan last year called Trump's performance at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin "nothing short of treasonous" after Trump seemed to give credence to Putin's denial of Russia meddling in the 2016 election. Trump then revoked Brennan's security clearance.
Brennan wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that Trump's refusal to accept the U.S. intelligence community's assessments on Iran, North Korea, Islamic State, Russia and other matters shows the extent of what he called the president's "intellectual bankruptcy."
Nine days before assuming the presidency, Trump accused the intelligence community of leaking false information, saying "that's something that Nazi Germany would have done."
Source: National News Agency