CIA officers give mixed reviews of Trump’s strange visit

“He said some of the right things, but it still had a bizarre quality to it,” said one former top CIA official. Trump’s comments included “way too much campaign-related things” and “attacks on the media [that] did not fit and were wrong.”

It was Trump’s ebullient self-promotion that most troubled this former official and others I contacted. “Overall, the self-obsession and campaign-style language was not appropriate in that place,” he said. “It should not be all about you, at a place that memorializes people for whom it was about others and about mission.”…

A former division chief said: “It was good that he came, but it came across as very political. He didn’t understand his audience, which is the most apolitical crowd in Washington.” This former official’s first reaction was that “it was so inappropriate, what he said and where he said it.” But later, after surveying a range of colleagues, he said that the reaction overall was “a mix of cautious gratitude and bemused acceptance, along with disappointment and worse.”

A veteran paramilitary officer said Trump and his chosen CIA director, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), were seen as a welcome change by many CIA operations officers who have chafed under the leadership of John Brennan. The visit was “well-received by the worker bees,” he said, adding that “the videotaped part was not reflective of the visit. Many were pleasantly surprised by how he is in person.”