Incoherent U.S. foreign policy is causing American allies abroad to hear mixed messages from the Trump administration, former deputy CIA director Michael Morell told "CBS This Morning" on Monday.
Morell, who also served as acting CIA director under former President Barack Obama, said "the mixed messages that allies are hearing are not just the Iraq message we heard about oil, right — it's messages about Russia. It's messages about the future of the alliance — [they're] hearing one thing from the president and they're hearing other things from the president's team."
Trump has frequently expressed a desire to "take the oil" in Iraq, but Defense Secretary James Mattis said the past few days that "we're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil," The Washington Times reported.
Vice President Mike Pence also said over the weekend at the Munich Security Conference that the U.S. "strongly" supports the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and will continue to hold Russia accountable, even though Trump's comments have sometimes raised doubts about the importance the president places on NATO and have indicated he might try to cozy up to Moscow.
"I think what's important to remember is that the person that they really listen to, the person that they focus on, are the words of the president of the United States — less important to them what the others say," Morell said.
He added that the vacant national security adviser position is one of the reasons that foreign policy has not yet come together, because it is one of the most important roles along with the secretary of state and defense.
Morell said it is vital that the position be filled as soon as possible with someone who has the proper autonomy to bring the national security team together and present the relevant options and recommendations to the president.
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