WHITE House officials fear Donald Trump will reveal national security secrets after he leaves office and becomes a private citizen in January, according to reports.
Current and former officials believe that Trump's history of loose lips and his anger at the "deep state" conspiracy he believes cost him the 2020 election make him a huge counterintelligence risk.
The sitting president refuses to accept defeat and has repeatedly pushed unsubstantiated claims of the election being "rigged" against him.
"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," former CIA officer David Priess told the Washington Post.
As president, Trump has access to all classified government information and the authority to declassify and share any of it for any reason.
He'll still have access to the classified records of his administration when he leaves, but he loses the ability to legally disclose them once Biden takes office in January, according to the Post.
Concerned experts noted that Trump reportedly brushed off his presidential intelligence briefings and made it apparent he doesn't understand how national security works.
The president's ignorance dampens the risk that he poses, one expert claims, though the situation could be far more dangerous with a knowledgable but careless president.
"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 led the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice under George W. Bush.
Although Trump probably doesn't know the fine details of intel, he likely knows significant facts about the intelligence-gathering process that would be useful to America's foes.
Some of this information includes details about cyber weapons and espionage, the kinds of satellites used by the US, and the extent of any covert actions that only Trump has the power to authorize.
Experts also worry that Trump's pompousness might lead him to spill secrets at a rally or a clandestine meeting with a foreign enemy.
Trump has shown a willingness to declassify information for political advantage, like when he urged senior officials to reveal documents from the 2016 Russia investigation.
But experts believe the biggest post-presidency risk Trump poses is the clunky release of information, and they won't rule out the possibility of him trading favors for secrets.
The president will face a mountain of debt when he leaves office – something intelligence officials say is also a "grave concern" to security.
"People with significant debt are always of grave concern to security professionals," said veteran intelligence officer Larry Pfeiffer.
"The human condition is a frail one. And people in dire situations make dire decisions. Many of the individuals who've committed espionage against our country are people who are financially vulnerable."
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