And there’s another reason for America’s spies to worry about Trump. The most effective weapon available to America’s intelligence officers overseas is that they visibly represent the United States of America. Many a spy disgusted by the corruption in their own countries knows that America, built on the rule of law and respect for individual rights, is a powerful and glaring alternative. American and Western intelligence professionals know that many Russians are seeking an alternative future for Russia and are exhausted by the constant thievery, corruption, and lies of their leadership in the Kremlin. If your own president is a gangster and is hurting your country to satisfy his personal needs, the U.S. is the place to go.
At least it was.
For the intelligence collector, the worry is that the more Trump denigrates Western values and displays a sense of personal dishonesty, the less the U.S. looks like the better option. Why risk your life to provide information to a U.S. president who doesn’t understand the stakes and doesn’t respect the work of his security professionals?