Former CIA director: Bill Clinton didn't 'want' intelligence briefings, intel groups should change to work with Trump

Update: It was announced Thursday evening that James Woolsey is no longer a senior advisor to President-elect Donald Trump.

Former Clinton CIA director and Trump advisor James Woolsey says that the intelligence community needs to change in order to work with President-elect Donald Trump.

Woolsey, who served as CIA director during Clinton's first two years in the White House and is currently a senior advisor to the Trump transition team, said during PBS News Hour on Wednesday that he feels the intelligence community needs to adjust their presentations to Trump's liking, "rather than complaining."

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Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

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Energy secretary: Rick Perry

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Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

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Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

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Chief strategist: Steve Bannon


Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

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Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

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Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

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White House counsel: Donald McGahn

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Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

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Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

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Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

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Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

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Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

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Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Woolsey also claimed that President Bill Clinton eschewed briefings during his time in office.

"He doesn't want the morning briefing, apparently," the former CIA chief said during his interview. "Well, neither did Bill Clinton when I was director of Central Intelligence. He read the briefing and asked questions sometimes, so there's not any one way to do that."

He suggested that intelligence leaders "need to go the extra mile in order to present things to him in a way that he wants" in order to work with Trump. He also suggested that Trump needs to get to know the top leaders as well.

PBS' Judy Woodruff noted a The Wall Street Journal report that cited sources close to the president-elect saying there is a plan to restructure the CIA headquarters by cutting back on staff at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and increasing the number of people in the field.

Incoming press secretary Sean Spicer refuted the WSJ report on Thursday, claiming it is "100 percent false."

But Woolsey suggested the discussions of restructuring were ongoing, both currently and in recent years.

"There's been talk about this, not just within the Trump transition, but around the community for months, verging into years," Woolsey said about the potential restructuring of the CIA.

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UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 11: Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., attends a news conference at the DNC where members of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, February 11, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Representative James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, speaks during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Thursday, July 28, 2016. Division among Democrats has been overcome through speeches from two presidents, another first lady and a vice-president, who raised the stakes for their candidate by warning that her opponent posed an unprecedented threat to American diplomacy. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - JUNE 29: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., attends a rally with lawmakers and gun violence victims to call for action on gun safety measures on the steps of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore, Md., June 29, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 16: Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., speaks at a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on the Smith-Amash Amendment to the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act that would 'prevent the indefinite detention of and use of military custody for individuals detained on U.S. soil - including U.S. citizens - and ensure access to due process and the federal court system, as the Constitution provides.' (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 21: Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., speaks with a reporter at the Senate subway on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former general counsel to the CIA Jeffery Smith, who joined Woolsey on PBS, said that he agrees with Woolsey.

"If the size of the ODNI staff could be reduced and streamlined, I think that's good. It has become overhead that is largely unnecessary," Smith said. "And the story also suggests that CIA should do more in the field. I think that's probably right."

The president-elect recently rebuked a CIA report that said Russia strategically hacked emails of top Democrats during the presidential election. Instead, Trump sided with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who said Russia did not hack the DNC or Clinton campaign's emails.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper addressed Russia's involvement in the election during a congressional hearing on Thursday, suggesting that Trump's refusal to acknowledge Russia's role is disparaging to the intelligence community.

Praising the importance of what he called "healthy skepticism," outgoing DNI Clapper said, "I think there's a difference between skepticism and disparagement."

The hearings came on the same day that the Trump transition team said he will soon name former U.S. Senator Dan Coats as his new DNI, a move that intelligence officials said they hope will bring a "truce" between the intel community and the new president.

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