Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | GOP2016 | ISIS/Islamic State | michael hayden | michael morell | intel briefing

Hayden, Morell Blast Trump's 'Political' Use of Intel Briefing

Hayden, Morell Blast Trump's 'Political' Use of Intel Briefing

(AP Images)

By    |   Thursday, 08 September 2016 07:07 PM

Retired top military leaders on Thursday condemned Donald Trump's characterization of an intelligence briefing as crossing the line when he said he could tell those briefing him didn't like President Barack Obama not following their advice.

Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden called it "awful," while former acting CIA Director Michael Morell said the GOP presidential nominee crossed a "longstanding red line."

Morell is a supporter of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Hayden is a veteran of the George W. Bush administration, but has previously warned that Trump could "created a crisis in civil military relationships."

Hayden and Morell's criticism came after Trump said during Wednesday's Commander in Chief Forum on NBC that he could read the body language of those giving him his initial intelligence briefing and could tell they weren't happy that President Barack Obama is not following their advice to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS.)

"That's just awful," Hayden told Politico. "I mean a candidate used the intelligence professionals who were briefing him in an absolutely nonpolitical setting, he imputed to them views that were politically useful to him in the moment."

"Intelligence officers provide objective views of what’s going on in a situation and how that situation might change given the policy options on the table," Morell told the website, adding that it is not the job of the military to recommend policies "and anyone running for president should know that."

Morell is scheduled to attend a bipartisan meeting of former national security officials with Clinton on Friday.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and veteran on Iraq and Afghanistan told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that even though the intelligence community is "very fed up" with Obama because of a perceived lack of leadership on the world stage, "I don't think a candidate for president should ever even discuss the security briefings. There's a real sanctity in that."

And, Kinzinger added, "unless he's a body language expert, I don't think that's appropriate to say."

But retired Gen. Michael Flynn, a Trump adviser, defended the nominee, saying on NBC's "Today" show, "The intelligence we've received in the last two briefings were in stark contrast to the policy decisions being made."

Flynn further described how he said those intel briefings went down:

"They would say the intelligence professionals, as they should, they would say those are policy decisions. So Donald Trump, in a very, very sophisticated way, was asking tough questions, and they would back off and say, 'That is not our job, those are policy decisions at the — in this case the White House is making.' And we would sit there and go, OK, we understand."

Flynn himself has caught flak over his own conduct during the first briefing. According to NBC News, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another Trump adviser, had to tell Flynn to "shut up" after he repeatedly interrupted with questions.

Trump also said in the forum that military leaders have been "reduced to rubble" and that he would have "new generals" to advise him.

That "would be unprecedented," Mackubin Thomas Owens, a retired Marine colonel and former instructor at the Naval War College, told Politico

"This would be making the military into a partisan prize," he said. "The idea you are going to come in and fire all the generals and admirals would be nearly impossible for a variety of reasons, but would also be stupid."

But his campaign responded that Trump never said he would fire the current generals, only that "he'd have different generals advising him."

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Headline
Retired top military leaders on Thursday condemned Donald Trump's characterization of an intelligence briefing as crossing the line when he said he could tell those briefing him didn't like President Barack Obama not following their advice.
michael hayden, michael morell, intel briefing, isis
594
2016-07-08
Thursday, 08 September 2016 07:07 PM
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