The Potential Danger of Classified Intel Briefings in a Bitter Campaign

By Walter Pincus

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics that ranged from nuclear weapons to politics. He is the author of Blown to Hell: America's Deadly Betrayal of the Marshall Islanders. Pincus won an Emmy in 1981 and was the recipient of the Arthur Ross Award from the American Academy for Diplomacy in 2010.  He was also a team member for a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 and the George Polk Award in 1978.  

NBC’s Wednesday night “Commander-in-Chief Forum” gave some insights into how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump might handle the job, but I first want to deal with the danger it illustrated for the Intelligence Community when it comes to providing classified intelligence briefings to political candidates running for president in a bitter campaign.

I was worried what would happen if, as I wrote here last month, “one or the other candidate appears to misuse or even distort the information they had been given.”

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