It’s been a busy week for former acting CIA director Michael Morell. First, over the weekend he published an op-ed in the New York Times humbly titled, “I Ran the CIA. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.” In the piece he explained that Hillary Clinton was his choice for president because of:
…her belief that America is an exceptional nation that must lead in the world for the country to remain secure and prosperous; her understanding that diplomacy can be effective only if the country is perceived as willing and able to use force if necessary…
Morell pitched his tent in Hillary’s camp because of her aggressive, you might say neoconservative, foreign policy.
Among his factually incorrect claims in the piece was that he supports Hillary because, “[d]uring the early debates about how we should respond to the Syrian civil war, she was a strong proponent of a more aggressive approach, one that might have prevented the Islamic State from gaining a foothold in Syria.”
Those of us not so dizzied in the stratospheric heights of CIA (acting) directorship could have informed Morell that it was only as Assad was weakened by US (and allied) backed jihadists that ISIS was able to take hold in Syria and that taking Assad out earlier, as he advises, would have produced not Switzerland but another Libya. Actually worse than Libya. But the neocons never bother too much with reality. Instead they make their own reality each day.
Even more bizarre (and incidentally a peek into the mentality of the excessively politically-tuned upper echelons of the military and intelligence community) was Morell’s claim that Hillary’s opponent Donald Trump was a threat to US national security because he was actually a Russian spy.
As Morell put it:
Mr. Putin…recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.
There is plenty to write about Trump’s faults and shortcomings, but only the most extreme conspiracy theorist would dare suggest that in some smoky pub somewhere “Agent Vlad” honed in on The Donald to serve unwittingly as an agent of the Russian empire.
There is plenty more in Morell’s strange NYT op-ed — reminding us of the obstacles honest intelligence analysts must surmount to get their conclusions considered in the mix — but anyone who thought he could not outdo his seemingly unhinged neoconservative tendencies would have to think again as yesterday he played softball with the male Barbara Walters, Charlie Rose.
There is much to Morell’s bizarre interview with Charlie Rose, but cutting to the chase for the sake of brevity, is his contention that our policy in Syria should be to “punish” the Russians and Iranians for assisting the Syrian government in its fight against al-Qaeda and ISIS:
Morell: ‘We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price in Syria.’
Rose: ‘We make them pay the price by killing Russians?’
Rose: ‘And killing Iranianis?’
Morell: ‘Yes…You don’t tell the world about it, right? You don’t stand up at the Pentagon and tell the world that we did this. Right? But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.’
Don’t believe it? Watch the interview yourself:
This is Hillary’s unhinged world.