Tags: Hillary Clinton | michael morell | hillary clinton | endorse

Morell: Should Have Been Neutral, Not Endorse Clinton

Morell: Should Have Been Neutral, Not Endorse Clinton
Michael J. Morell (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

By    |   Monday, 11 December 2017 05:25 PM

Former CIA acting director Michael Morell — who endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election — says he failed to think through the implications of breaking with an intelligence community tradition of remaining non-political.

"I think there were downsides to it that I didn't think about at the time," he told Politico Magazine about his endorsement in an New York Times op-ed called Trump a "threat to our national security."

"I was concerned about 'what is the impact it would have on the agency.' Very concerned about that, thought that through. But I don't think I fully thought through the implications," he told the outlet in a lengthy interview posted Monday.

Morrell went on to enumerate how his decision to take a political stand played out if you just put yourself "in Donald Trump's shoes."

"He must have thought . . . that, 'Who are these guys? Are these guys out to get me? Is this a political organization? Can I think about them as a political organization when I become president?'" Morell asked Politico.

He called the consequences "a significant downside to those of us who became political in that moment . . . it's something I didn't think about."

According to Morell, he know realizes how Trump must have interpreted seeing "a former director of CIA and a former director of NSA, Mike Hayden, who I have the greatest respect for, criticizing him and his policies."

"And he could rightfully have said, 'Huh, what's going on with these intelligence guys?'" he continued. "And then he sees a former acting director and deputy director of CIA criticizing him and endorsing his opponent.

"And then he gets his first intelligence briefing, after becoming the Republican nominee, and within 24 to 48 hours, there are leaks out of that that are critical of him and his then-national security adviser, Mike Flynn."

"This stuff starts to build," Morell said.

"And he must have said to himself, 'What is it with these intelligence guys? Are they political?'" he told Politico. "The current director at the time, John Brennan, during the campaign occasionally would push back on things that Donald Trump had said.

"So, when Trump talked about the Iran nuclear deal being the worst deal in the history of American diplomacy, and he was going to tear it up on the first day — John Brennan came out publicly and said, 'That would be an act of folly.' So, he sees current sitting director pushing back on him," Morell added.

"Then he becomes president, and he's supposed to be getting a daily brief from the moment he becomes the president-elect," he continued. "And he doesn't. And within a few days, there's leaks about how he's not taking his briefing."

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Former CIA acting director Michael Morell - who endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election - says he failed to think through the implications of breaking with an intelligence community tradition of remaining non-political.
michael morell, hillary clinton, endorse
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2017-25-11
Monday, 11 December 2017 05:25 PM
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