But no new president has ever had to fear that his predecessor might expose the nation’s secrets as President-elect Joe Biden must with Trump, current and former officials said. Not only does Trump have a history of disclosures, he checks the boxes of a classic counterintelligence risk: He is deeply in debt and angry at the U.S. government, particularly what he describes as the “deep state” conspiracy that he believes tried to stop him from winning the White House in 2016 and what he falsely claims is an illegal effort to rob him of reelection.
“Anyone who is disgruntled, dissatisfied or aggrieved is a risk of disclosing classified information, whether as a current or former officeholder. Trump certainly fits that profile,” said David Priess, a former CIA officer and author of “The President’s Book of Secrets,” a history of the top-secret intelligence briefings that presidents and their staff receive while in office…
“A knowledgeable and informed president with Trump’s personality characteristics, including lack of self-discipline, would be a disaster. The only saving grace here is that he hasn’t been paying attention,” said Jack Goldsmith, who ran the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department in the George W. Bush administration and is the co-author of “After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency.”
“He probably doesn’t know much about collection details. But he will have bits and pieces,” said retired Gen. Peter B. Zwack, who served as a military intelligence officer and was the senior U.S. defense attache to Russia from 2012 to 2014.