Career intelligence official Mike Morell, an agent under both Democratic and Republican president, said Friday in a New York Times op-ed that he is endorsing Hillary Clinton in the presidential race because she is ‘highly qualified’ and Trump is not.
Morell warned in the op-ed that Putin, an ex-spy who has been accused of killing and jailing journalists and political opponents, is manipulating Trump.
‘In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.’
Putin began his flirtation with the Republican presidential candidate early on in the race, praising Trump to draw him in, Morell contends.
A career intelligence officer, the Russian leader is’ trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them,’ the former CIA head said. ‘Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated.’
Trump has responded in kind an called Putin a ‘great leader’ despite his violations of civil liberties and human rights, the incursion into Ukraine and a domestic policy that is driving Russia’s ‘economy to ruin,’ Morell said.
‘Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States,’ he writes.
Already Trump is ‘damaging our national security,’ Morell argues, and not just because he’s fraternizing with Putin.
‘Mr. Trump has also undermined security with his call for barring Muslims from entering the country. This position, which so clearly contradicts the foundational values of our nation, plays into the hands of the jihadist narrative that our fight against terrorism is a war between religions.’
In taking a stand against Trump, Morell revealed that the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center was directed for nearly a decade by a Muslim-American he is unable to name ‘and who I believe is most responsible for keeping America safe since the Sept. 11 attacks. ‘
The 33-year veteran of the national intelligence agency was George W. Bush’s briefer on September 11, 2001, when the Pentagon and World Trade Center were hit by hijacked planes.