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Ex-CIA Head Morell: 'Surprised' Intel Leaders Would Give Trump Unverified Info

Image: Ex-CIA Head Morell: 'Surprised' Intel Leaders Would Give Trump Unverified Info

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By    |   Wednesday, 11 Jan 2017 04:59 PM

Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell on Wednesday expressed surprise that the nation's intelligence agencies would give information that has not been verified to President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama.

"I was a bit surprised that our intelligence community would take a private document and summarize it for the president and president-elect if they didn't know anything about the credibility of the information in it," Morell told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"That would be, quite frankly, unprecedented – to take a private document, right – you'd be doing that every day, if that's the way you were operating," Morell said. "If there was some reason why they thought some part of it or certain aspects of it were credible, that they had actually done some work, then it might make sense to bring it to his attention."

But, he added, "We just don't know which one it is right now."

CNN reported on Tuesday that top intelligence officials briefed both Trump and Obama last week on a series of memos that claim Russia had compromising personal and business information on Trump that it could use against him. The document reportedly was compiled by a former British intelligence agent who was working on opposition research on Trump during the GOP primary season and, later, for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Trump has said the document is false and suggested at a news conference Wednesday that the intelligence community might be behind its release. The president-elect and the intelligence community have had a contentious relationship ever since they suggested Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails and that they were released to aid Trump's election chances.

CNN did not release the memos, which have been circulating in Washington for months, because it said they could not be verified. But the website BuzzFeed did release them, saying the public should decide on their accuracy for themselves.

Morell said he read the documents on Tuesday night, telling CNN, "This is what you see when you look at raw intelligence. … I was looking at things that I knew – small bits of information that I knew were true."

But, he added, "I saw stuff that was absolutely not true – small bits. I saw a bunch of stuff that I had no idea. I saw stuff that was contradictory."

It's "very important to remember that sources, even the best CIA sources, get things wrong all the time," Morell said. "They lie to enhance their credibility, right – to try to get more money. So my bottom line was I can't tell what's true here and what's not. This needs a lot more work."

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Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell on Wednesday expressed surprise that the nation's intelligence agencies would give information that has not been verified to President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama.
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Wednesday, 11 Jan 2017 04:59 PM
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