Tags: mike morell | russia | meddling | intelligence | failure

Ex-CIA Chief Morell: Russia Meddling Was Intelligence Failure

Image: Ex-CIA Chief Morell: Russia Meddling Was Intelligence Failure
(AP)

By    |   Monday, 11 December 2017 09:30 AM

Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential elections was an intelligence failure in multiple ways, former longtime CIA deputy director Michael Morell told Global Politico in an interview published on Monday.

Morell, who twice served as the CIA's acting leader, and was President George W. Bush's personal daily intelligence briefer during the period leading up to and after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, said the overwhelming shift in emphasis toward counterterrorism after that led a failure to focus on the threat posed by Russia under President Vladimir Putin until it was too late.

"As we were trying to protect the country from terrorists, we became more blind to what was going on in the rest of the world, both from a collection perspective and from an analytic perspective," he said. "And that was a cost…. When you make choices, you leave significant risk on the table."

Morell said this failure was at the least "a failure of imagination that's not dissimilar to the failure of imagination that we had for 9/11," as the country's spy agencies did not have the foresight to imagine social media platforms and electronic hacking of Gmail being used to attack the country's election.

Morell, who endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for president, said he did that because "I was so deeply concerned about what a Trump presidency might look like from a national security perspective, and believed that there was such a gap between Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump with regard to how well they would protect the country, that I thought it extremely important to come out and say that."

When asked if Trump has been as bad as he feared, Morell said, "I think that his instincts have been as bad as I feared. I think that we are very lucky to have people like Jim Mattis, and people like H.R. McMaster, and people like Dan Coats and others, who are able to pull him back from where his instincts are.

"In some cases, they haven't succeeded, like on Paris. In other cases, they pulled him halfway back, like on Iran… I think on issues like Afghanistan, they've pulled him all the way back to — I think his initial instinct on Afghanistan was to get out, and they pulled him all the way back to a long-term commitment."

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Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential elections was an intelligence failure in multiple ways, former longtime CIA deputy director Michael Morell told Global Politico in an interview published on Monday.
mike morell, russia, meddling, intelligence, failure
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2017-30-11
Monday, 11 December 2017 09:30 AM
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