US President Donald Trump’s tweets help the Central Intelligence Agency gather intelligence on other countries, says CIA chief Mike Pompeo.
The spymaster told a panel discussion on Saturday at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, that Trump's tweets allowed intelligence agencies to gather important information.
"I've actually seen it help us," he said. "I have seen things the president has put on his Twitter account actually have a real-world impact on our capacity to understand what's going on in other places in the world."
"That is, our adversaries responded to those tweets in ways that were helpful to us to understand command and control issues, who's listening to what messages, how those messages are resonating around the world,” he said.
Since entering the White House in January, the American leader's use of twitter to lambast enemies and hype up achievements has led to harsh reactions inside America and abroad on numerous occasions.
Last week, Trump re-tweeted anti-Muslim videos posted originally by far-right UK group Britain First. The re-tweets drew fire from British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose office said Trump was “wrong for the president to have done this."
Trump has also been criticized for engaging in a war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un through his twitter account. The war began after Trump called Kim the “Rocket Man,” over his country’s development of ballistic missiles. After being called a “dotard” in response, Trump fired back by implying that Kim was “short and fat.”
Former CIA chief disagrees
Also attending the panel discussion Saturday, was former defense secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta, who warned about the consequences of Trump’s twitter habits.
He compared Trump’s anti-Muslim videos to the 2011 videos of extremist American pastor Terry Jones burning the holy book of Quran, causing massive demonstrations outside US embassies around the world.
“The problem of tweeting an anti-Muslim video like that is once it goes out, what it does is it inflames the people that are out there," Panetta said. "And the problem is that lives can be jeopardized."
"You don't just roll a grenade in the room, have things blow up, then not have a strategy for how the hell you deal with it," he later added.