Ex-CIA Director: Putin ‘Played’ Trump, Says Republican Candidate Is a Threat to National Security
Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Michael J. Morell said Donald Trump was “played” by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, adding that he will vote for Hillary Clinton in November.
Morell was the acting director and deputy director of the CIA from 2010 to 2013. He was at President George W. Bush’s side during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and with President Barack Obama when Osama Bin Laden was killed in 2011. In an op-ed for the New York Times on Friday, Morell says he has voted for both parties in the past and has always been silent on his presidential preferences—until this election.
“I will vote for Hillary Clinton,” wrote Morell.
“First, Mrs. Clinton is highly qualified to be commander in chief. I trust she will deliver on the most important duty of a president—keeping our nation safe. Second, Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security,” he said.
Morell had previously worked with the Democratic presidential candidate when she was secretary of state, especially in the Situation Room. He described her as “prepared, detail-oriented, thoughtful, inquisitive and willing to change her mind if presented with a compelling argument,” as well as committed to national security and to America.
“When some wanted to delay the Bin Laden raid by one day because the White House Correspondents Dinner might be disrupted, she said, ‘Screw the White House Correspondents Dinner,'” he wrote.
Morell then said that unlike Clinton, Trump has no experience on national security.
“Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief,” wrote the former CIA director.
“These traits include his obvious need for self-aggrandizement, his overreaction to perceived slights, his tendency to make decisions based on intuition,” he added.
Morell says Trump is already threatening national security with his comments. The former CIA director pointed out that Putin was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify weaknesses in a person and to exploit them. Morell says Putin “played upon” Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. Last year, Putin said Trump was a “very colorful, talented person,” and Trump responded just how Putin had calculated, Morell wrote.
“Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin. Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests—endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States,” wrote Morell.
Morell went as far as suggesting that “Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
Morell also noted that Trump has threatened national security by saying he will ban Muslims from entering the United States.
“In fact, many Muslim Americans play critical roles in protecting our country, including the man, whom I cannot identify, who ran the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center for nearly a decade and who I believe is most responsible for keeping America safe since the Sept. 11 attacks,” wrote Morell.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama acknowledged that both Clinton and Trump will get national security briefings before the election.
Obama, who previously said Trump was “unfit” to be president, warned the candidate on releasing sensitive information.
“What I will say is that they have been told these are classified briefings and if they want to be president, they’ve got to start acting like president. And that means being able to, you know, receive these briefings and not spread them around,” he said at the Pentagon during a national security press conference.