By now, if you are at all keeping up with current events within national politics and/or the national security world, you are aware of the feud that has erupted between Donald J. Trump and the intelligence community.  Here is a primer, if you still need one.

I should say a few things before we get to the top five questions the CIA must be asking regarding collection on Russia going forward in the Trump administration.  First, the source of the leak regarding the existence of the infamous dossier on Trump is anyone’s guess.  Yes, it could have been a 7th floor CIA leader involved in the briefing of the information.  Yes, it could have been a senior analyst from the counterintelligence (CI) shop involved in preparing the briefing.  Yes, it could have been a mid-level operations officer involved in the possible collection of any amplifying information.

All of those things are possible, and thus Trump’s tirade against the intel community, in which he verbally and Twitter-ly diarrhea’d comparisons of the leak (and leakers) to Nazi Germany.  Because, who doesn’t remember when the German intel community leaked information about Hitler?  Or, wait, are the Nazis the leakers in this analogy, directed against the Jews?  I am confused.  Never mind.

Furthermore, it could have been any number of politicians, political operatives, or press people who instead leaked the commercially-produced dossier, instead of an intelligence official.  In reality, to be clear, the dossier itself was apparently available everywhere, for a long time, before it made its splash in the news.  The fact that it was briefed to Trump was the issue, I suppose.  Again, it is murky.  Should the CIA and FBI not have briefed him that the Russians possibly intended to blackmail him?  You would think he would want to know that…

All of this leads us to conclude: who cares?  The dossier was collected, passed around D.C. and New York, within the incestuous press-politics-infotainment complex, and was briefed to Trump.  That is the bottom line, for now (pending the results of any counterintelligence investigation going on with regards to the substance of the dossier).

So, we shall start from where we are.  We shall prognosticate based on the facts at hand, as we know them right now.  From where we currently find ourselves vis-a-vis Trump and the intelligence community, here are the top five questions the Central Intelligence Agency should be asking itself regarding Russian collection under President Trump.  The CIA is the HUMINT center for the national security establishment, after all, and thus merits our specific focus.

Will the new POTUS change collection requirements on Russia?

Beyond ending any currently standing sanctions imposed on Russia or, God forbid, pulling out of NATO altogether, this will be a telltale sign as to President Trump’s seriousness with regards to seeing Russia as a potential ally.  If the President comes into office and directs the intelligence community to place Russia in the same category as our staunchest allies, with regards to collection on their security services, foreign, and domestic policies, then the CIA will know that Trump means business.  Such a directive would be a sea-change in U.S. intelligence collection against Russia.