The country’s intelligence agencies don’t like to choose sides. They rightly see their job as providing the best available information to the president, their work serving as the basis upon which the White House makes decisions. That is the spirit of the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment presented to Congress this week, the product of 17 agencies, their thoughtful version of reality, or the truth.

In that way, the intelligence chiefs did make a choice during their appearance at a Senate committee hearing. They rightly sided with what they have learned and know, setting up another clash with President Trump, who takes a much different view of the global threats facing the country. It was another perplexing moment, the president pushing aside the expertise designed to help in performing his job.

The intelligence officials didn’t say so out loud. The thrust of their presentation invited the conclusion that the president represents a security threat in how he dismisses what the professionals have to offer.

What are the leading threats as defined by the intelligence community? The officials highlighted cyberattacks, especially from Russia and China, “more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s,” according to the assessment. Both countries are in position to disrupt our public works and other infrastructure, China, for instance, with the ability to cut off natural gas pipelines. This concern adds to Russia still pursuing disinformation campaigns like the one it conducted to influence the 2016 presidential election with the aim of aiding the Trump candidacy.

Unfortunately, the president rarely speaks about cyberthreats. Recall the summit in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin, the president choosing to believe the Russian president’s denial about intervening in the election. Trump spent the recent midterm election campaign, and aftermath, including a partial government shutdown, promoting a phony crisis at the border. Where did the border and related matters land in view of the threat assessment? They receive passing reference.

Another leading threat involves the Islamic State, which, in a Tweet following the hearing on Tuesday, the president declared “will soon be destroyed, unthinkable two years ago.” In contrast, the assessment finds thousands of Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, plus in networks elsewhere. The president has gone so far as to describe North Korea as “no longer a Nuclear Threat.” The assessment views the North Korean regime committed to long-range missiles and its nuclear weapons as critical to its survival.

There is a consensus that Iran acts badly in the Middle East. The president withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran, asserting that Iranian officials violated the deal in spirit. He contended again in a tweet that Iran’s behavior now is “MUCH different.” For its part, the assessment concludes that Iran continues to comply with the restrictions on building nuclear weapons. It also states that the president’s trade policies and “unilateralism’ have strained alliances and sent partners looking for new relationships.

At one point, the president described the intelligence officials as “extremely passive and naive,” declaring: “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” The intelligence community has had its sorry moments, few greater than the run-up to the Iraq War. Mostly, failures have stemmed from presidents refusing to listen to what they do not want to hear. In this instance, with such a public display of turning away, the president risks corrupting the intelligence process, wishing the agencies to choose sides. He may think that is good for him. It isn’t good for the country, intelligence becoming another casualty in a White House of falsehoods, misinformation and vanished credibility.