22 Jan 2017

Trump makes official visit to CIA

11:38 am on 22 January 2017

In his first full day as US President, Donald Trump has made an official visit to the CIA, and spoken with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.

Donald Trump speaks to staff at the Central Intelligence Agency.

Donald Trump speaks to staff at the Central Intelligence Agency. Photo: AFP

In a speech at CIA headquarters, Mr Trump praised the agency he had recently criticised as using Nazi-like tactics.

"These are really special amazing people - very, very few people could do the job you people do and I just want you to know that we're going to give you so much back, and maybe you're going to say 'please don't give us so much back'."

He told about 400 employees: "There is nobody who feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than me."

Mr Trump had harshly criticized intelligence officials after they concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed hackers to breach Democratic emails to try to boost Mr Trump's presidential election campaign.

Then, after leaks about an unsubstantiated dossier compiled by a private security firm suggesting Moscow had compromising information about him, Mr Trump blamed intelligence agencies for using Nazi-like tactics.

Mr Trump made no mention of Russia during his off-the-cuff remarks, which lasted about 15 minutes.

He said the feud with intelligence agencies was made up by the media, and he called reporters "among the most dishonest human beings on earth."

He also took issue with television shots and still photos of crowds that had gathered for his inauguration on Friday on the National Mall, suggesting that they were misleading and showed fewer people present than actually in attendance.

He also said he would give the agency all the backing it needed to eliminate the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, saying tht was a top priority.

"Because we've been fighting these wars for longer than any wars we've ever fought. We have not used the real abilities that we have, we've been restrained. We have to get rid of ISIS, we have to get rid of ISIS, we have no choice.

"Radical Islamic terrorism, and I said it yesterday, has to be eradicated just off the face of the earth - this is evil."

Meanwhile, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a statement he had talked with Mr Trump by phone on Saturday morning, and the two leaders agreed to meet in the near future.

President Pena Nieto said he had told Mr Trump the country wants an open dialogue with their northern neighbors, and both leaders expressed confidence that it would bring good results for both countries, the statement said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said he had also spoken to Mr Trump on Saturday about trade and congratulated him on his inauguration.

"The Prime Minister and the President reiterated the importance of the Canada-United States bilateral relationship, and discussed various areas of mutual interest," a statement from the office read.

"The Prime Minister noted the depth of the Canada-US economic relationship, with 35 states having Canada as their top export destination."

- Reuters / BBC

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