Trump is not planning to restructure spy agencies, spokesman says

Donald Trump
Getty Images
Donald Trump

President-elect Donald Trump's team on Thursday denied reports that he plans to restructure U.S. spy agencies.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday night that the president-elect is working with top advisers on a plan that would restructure and pare back the nation's top spy agency. The newspaper cited one of the people familiar with Trump's planning who said advisers are working on a plan to restructure the Central Intelligence Agency, cutting back staff at its Virginia headquarters and pushing more people out into field posts.

Incoming White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters in a Thursday call "there is no truth to this idea of restructuring the intelligence community infrastructure."

"All transition activities are for information-gathering purposes and all discussions are tentative," Spicer said. "The president-elect's top priority will be to ensure the safety of the American people and the security of the nation, and he is committed to finding the best and most effective ways to do it."

National Intelligence Director James Clapper testified before a Senate committee Thursday, saying although Russian hacking did not change the actual vote tallies of the presidential election, there was no way to gauge whether voters' opinions were swayed by material leaked from those hacks.

Clapper also said Russia has clearly "assumed an even more aggressive cyber posture," and there is a forthcoming intelligence report that "will ascribe a motivation" by Russian officials for those activities.

Trump had previously expressed "healthy American skepticism" about U.S. intelligence conclusions, Vice President-elect Mike Pence told reporters Wednesday. Spicer elaborated on the daily transition call, saying Trump had faith in the intelligence data, but not necessarily every conclusion by intelligence officials.

In a tweet Thursday, Trump said he's a "big fan" of the intelligence community.



A senior intelligence official told NBC on Thursday that President Barack Obama had received the U.S. intelligence report on Russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 U.S. election and was briefed on it.

—CNBC's Dan Mangan contributed to this report.