By DAMIAN PALETTA – – – – –
Now that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have accepted their parties’ nominations for president, they will be entitled to several classified briefings from U.S. intelligence officials. Here’s a look at how the briefings will work:
The White House will reach out to both campaigns and connect them with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which has been planning the briefings for weeks. The campaigns can either accept the offer for intelligence briefings or decline. They will most likely accept.
The candidates, and sometimes senior aides, will then schedule a time and place for the meeting. Often, intelligence officials travel to meet the candidates during the hectic campaign schedule. Candidates can receive one briefing or multiple briefings, depending on their interest.
The briefings will offer a window into current threats facing the U.S. and the rest of the world as well as challenges like cyberattacks. The briefings don’t disclose details of current intelligence operations, or the source and methods of intelligence collection.
The candidates don’t need to have a security clearance to receive the briefings, but they are nonetheless classified.
The president can decide to declassify information, but neither Mr. Trump nor Mrs. Clinton will have that power. It’s unclear what would happen if either of the candidates disclosed any of the information they are told by intelligence officials.
Democrats have complained that Mr. Trump shouldn’t receive a classified briefing, and Republicans have complained that Mrs. Clinton should be disqualified from receiving one as well. But Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said both candidates will be offered these briefings.
The briefings could be considered classified-lite, in that a much more thorough and detailed set of briefings will await the candidate who wins the November election. That’s when the intelligence community begins preparing the future president for their role as commander in chief.