Vice President Harry Truman didn’t know anything about the Manhattan Project. He only learned about it after President Franklin Roosevelt’s death and his assumption of the presidency. He decided that his successors should never be put in that same situation and ordered that intelligence briefings be given to both major party candidates in a presidential election. This process has evolved over the years and now includes a watered-down version of what the president is told on a daily basis. It contains no Top Secret information (which is information whose release could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to the nation’s security) but just a general overview of the security threats around the world. They might tell the candidates where ISIS is operating in the world, but they won’t tell them where the leader of ISIS stays each night.
People from both major parties have given reasons why they think the other party’s candidate shouldn’t get any briefing. Republicans say the FBI’s report on the Clinton e-mail server investigation, and Director James Comey’s characterization of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified data as “reckless” should disqualify her from getting any briefing. This is ridiculous because as Secretary of State she was already aware of the kind of information the briefing would present. Senator Harry Reid believes that Donald Trump’s lack of self-control makes him unsuited for handling classified information and that they should give him a fake briefing, with no real intelligence divulged. This has led to a fun hashtag game on the Twitter called #FakeTrumpIntelligenceBriefing. Here is an example:
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said both candidates will get the same nonpartisan briefing. After the election, the winner will begin receiving the same intelligence briefing the president gets each morning in order to prepare her (alright, maybe him) for taking office. Ironically, something like the Manhattan Project is not the kind of thing that would be told to presidential candidates. If they wouldn’t even tell the Vice President it existed, why would they reveal it to someone who was going to lose the election and probably never hold any public office?
This is our daily open thread. It contains no classified information.