WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence officials next week will invite the presidential and vice-presidential candidates from both political parties to receive top secret briefings on world crises and security threats, two U.S. officials familiar with the plans said.
Now that their nominations have been confirmed, Democrat Hillary Clinton and her vice presidential running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, and Republican Donald Trump and his running mate, Governor Mike Pence, will be offered identical intelligence briefings, the officials said.
Candidates customarily get one briefing although they may ask that it be broken into segments.
Aides and advisors to the candidates will not be allowed to attend the briefings unless they have security clearances granting them access to Top Secret intelligence, the officials added.
There could be questions about whether Trump aides who have done business in Eastern Europe could attend such briefings, the officials said. Clinton aides involved in the controversy over her private email server also might not be eligible, they said.
Asked on Thursday whether the intelligence community has any hesitation about briefing Trump or Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper replied: “No, there isn’t.”
“Both candidates will be reached out to, and offered briefings,” although they are not mandatory, Clapper said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. “We’ve got a team all prepared, and have had for some time.”
While the briefings are expected to include some classified material, Clapper described them as “fairly general”. Other officials said they will provide a broad overview of the most important issues, threats, and trends, including terrorism, Russia, and China.
The briefings will track unclassified assessments that Clapper presented to Congress earlier this year in an annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” one of the officials said.
The briefings will not include information about U.S. intelligence sources and methods or current covert operations, both officials added.
Trump was nominated last week at his party’s convention and his rival at the Nov. 8 election, Clinton, is due to accept the Democratic nomination on Thursday night.
Reporting By Mark Hosenball; additional reporting by Warren Strobel in Aspen.; Editing by John Walcott and Alistair Bell