Senior intelligence officials realized early on that President Donald Trump wasn’t going to read even short written summaries of his regular intelligence briefings. So the CIA officers who prepared the briefings made sure they came to the Oval Office laden with striking images, pared-down charts and slick graphics designed to grab the president’s fleeting interest, several officials familiar with the briefings told NBC News.
“To secure his attention, you had to use images and catchy headlines, even better if they had his name in them,” said Doug London, a former CIA officer who helped assemble the briefing material.
On Aug. 30, 2019, top spies learned the dangers of that approach. What unfolded that day became an infamous moment in the Trump presidency — one that former intelligence officials say perfectly illustrated his approach to dealing with state secrets. A former senior intelligence official with firsthand knowledge told NBC News that Trump did indeed tweet a highly classified image taken by a secret spy satellite, as many experts suspected at the time. And in doing so, the official and others said, Trump gave U.S. adversaries keen insights into the U.S. capabilities to spy from above. [Continue reading…]