I was watching daytime television today and despite my multitasking and not really paying attention something that was said stuck out to me. A conservative-leaning host mentioned that they were concerned about the precedent that the leaks and the reported leak that intelligence agents have been withholding information from the President set. The liberal-leaning host brought up how telling it is that it appears not even the intelligence community trusts the President and that’s terrifying and that the leaks are a way to protect the idea of transparency in leadership, thus protecting the American people from a dictatorship. I stopped multitasking as I found myself agreeing with both of them, but more leaning on the side of the dangerous precedent this all could set.
To be clear I think that considering how dangerous Donald Trump is and how he has routinely disrespected the Presidency by not going to intelligence briefings and being lax with security it probably isn’t a bad idea that sensitive information is being withheld from him. I don’t feel like Trump can be trusted with sensitive information. Hell, he might hand it over to Russia for all we know. However on the flip side I can understand that that is a dangerous precedent. What if in the future there is a president that is more presidential and more responsible, one who is qualified for the job but that various members of the intelligence community have an axe to grind? It shouldn’t be okay for them to just withhold information just because.
So what’s the balance? There needs to be a clear and present reason why the President shouldn’t be given information. That needs to be the standard. I think that, maybe, this Russia debacle is that clear and present reason why Trump is being denied but even as we deal with this disaster and this threat we need to be on guard for well-meaning choices of today screwing over tomorrow.