Trump vows his full support to CIA after feud about Russia hacking
LANGLEY, Va./WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump sought to mend fences with the CIA on Saturday, telling officers he had their back after he criticized spy agencies for their investigation into Russian hacking. In his first...
LANGLEY, Va./WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump sought to mend fences with the CIA on Saturday, telling officers he had their back after he criticized spy agencies for their investigation into Russian hacking.
In his first official visit to a government agency as president, Trump - who had said U.S. intelligence tactics were reminiscent of Nazi Germany - sought to leave no doubt with officers that he supported their work.
"Very, very few people could do the job you people do and I want you to know I am so behind you," Trump said, to cheers and loud applause.
Ahead of the speech, some analysts said it would take more than a quick visit for Trump, who engaged in an unprecedented feud with the Central Intelligence agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies before his inauguration, to patch up relations with a community he denigrated.
Trump harshly criticized intelligence officials after they concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed hackers to breach Democratic emails to try to boost Trump's presidential election campaign.
Then, after leaks about an unsubstantiated dossier compiled by a private security firm suggesting Moscow had compromising information about him, Trump blamed intelligence agencies for using Nazi-like tactics.
Trump made no mention of Russia during his off-the-cuff remarks, which lasted about 15 minutes.
He said the feud with intelligence agencies was made up by the media, and he called reporters "among the most dishonest human beings on earth."
Trump also took issue with television shots and still photos of crowds that had gathered for his inauguration on Friday on the National Mall, suggesting that they were misleading and showed fewer people present than actually in attendance.
Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell said Trump's visit to the CIA would be "an important and positive gesture."
"The real test of the relationship between the president and his most important intelligence agency, though, will depend on how open he is to what CIA has to say about what is happening in the world," Morell said before Trump's speech.
Trump said fighting Islamic State militants would be a priority for the agency, saying "radical Islamic terrorism" had to be eradicated.