President-elect Joe Biden will have two intelligence priorities when he replaces Donald Trump in January. The first is repairing relations with the intelligence community. The second is using intelligence to implement Biden’s grand strategy. Intelligence is in line to play a particularly important role in the next administration, but this won’t be possible unless the new president restores a sense of normalcy to intelligence-policy relations.

When Trump started his campaign, he promised his supporters a new kind of White House. Ever the populist, he vowed to drain the swamp of Washington careerists and fight back against the “deep state” that supposedly controlled the levers of foreign policy. He took special aim at intelligence leaders, accusing them of leaking damaging information to reporters and comparing them with Nazis. Trump’s accusations led to concerns that he would replace intelligence chiefs with political loyalists and bully the intelligence community into submission. On most issues, however, this has not occurred. Trump has been more inclined to ignore intelligence than politicize it. Fears that he would manipulate intelligence agencies, forcing them to deliver estimates that supported his policy preferences, did not come to pass.

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