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Ex-CIA Officer: Putin Not Retaliating Against US an 'Opportunity' for Trump

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By    |   Friday, 30 December 2016 05:22 PM

The mass expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States is a calculated political move by President Barack Obama — but it is also a solid one, retired CIA operations officer Scott Uehlinger tells Newsmax TV.

"This may surprise you, but I actually believe the sanctions are appropriate given basically Russian espionage activity in this country that's been going on for more than 10 years," Uehlinger said Friday to Miranda Khan on "Newsmax Prime."

"Although I'm very happy to hear this is being done, my first reaction is, why now? Why wasn't it at least five years ago? Of course that is politically motivated on the part of the Obama administration.

"However, I'm trying to look at the actual nuts and bolts of this, what they call a mass expulsion of Russian intelligence officers and that is only a good thing for the national security of the United States."

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This week, Obama booted 35 Russian diplomats after U.S. intelligence concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government were behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails that were released in a bid to influence the presidential election.

But Uehlinger, host of "The Station Chief" podcast, told Khan he "seriously questions" whether that was the Russian's motive.

"I always believe that it was not Russia's intent to see one candidate win over the other. It's merely that the Democratic candidate [Hillary Clnton] in this case provided the best target of opportunity," he said.

"And so [the Russians] took advantage of that and exposed her for her mishandling of classified information."

He said U.S. intelligence had identified the 35 Russians to be booted as "intelligence officers who were doing far more than hacking."

"A lot of them were handling human sources no doubt … The FBI have conducted surveillance for certainly years in some cases and they have identified these people as intelligence officers, maybe sometimes even identified the American spies they were meeting with" Uehlinger said.

"But in any case a massive expulsion of this level would throw Russian, at least human intelligence operations, into chaos for the foreseeable future."

Uehlinger added that the intelligence services of the United States, Canada, France and Great Britain don't operate on the scale that Russia does.

"Our amount of intelligence officers overseas is a small fraction of what the Russians do as everyday business. So basically sending 35 of them out is going to be a good thing. There will probably some remaining however it will better for U.S. national security that they are booted out," he said.

The fact that Putin is saying he will not retaliate against the United States by ousting Americans from Russia, is "almost unprecedented," but reveals the Russian strongman's "intelligence and craftiness," according to Uehlinger. And he believes it presents opportunity for President-elect Donald Trump.

"It was a very good move on Russia's part. He's trying to take them all high ground but whereas some people have said that perhaps Mr. Obama has sought to make difficulties for the Trump administration with this action at this point, I see actually see this as an opportunity for the Trump administration," he said.

"The Trump administration can use this incident to mend fences with Russia basically by explaining that the espionage war, the 35 individuals, the mass expulsion, is only part of a bilateral relationship. Mr. Trump can improve the personal relationship between himself and the president of Russia while at the same time we can have our cake and eat it too.

"We improve our relations with Russia but at the same time we have crippled their espionage collection capabilities against the United States. So actually this will be a unique opportunity for the Trump administration."

Uehlinger retired in 2014 as an operations officer from the Central Intelligence Agency in the Central Eurasian area. He now works as an intelligence professional and public speaker.

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The mass expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States is a calculated political move by President Barack Obama — but it is also a solid one, retired CIA operations officer Scott Uehlinger tells Newsmax TV.
scott uehlinger, putin, us, opportunity, trump
Friday, 30 December 2016 05:22 PM
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