Monday, January 9, 2017
If CIA Loses Personnel To Trump's Comments, Is That Bad? Should The Incoming President Not Challenge The Status Quo?
Ex-CIA director: Trump's comments will lead to 'wave' of resignations
Former CIA acting director Michael Morell said President-elect Donald Trump’s rhetoric will undermine the agency by causing a “wave of resignations” and affecting its ability to work with foreign intelligence services.
“First, expect a wave of resignations. Attrition at the C.I.A., which has been remarkably low since Sept. 11, 2001, will skyrocket,” Morell wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Friday.
“The primary motivator for some of our smartest minds to go to work at the C.I.A. is to make a difference to national security, to play a role in keeping the country safe. All of the sacrifices — from the long hours, polygraph tests, unfair media criticism, not to mention the real dangers to life and limb — are worth it, if you are making a difference.”
Morell’s latest criticism of the president-elect comes as the intelligence community issued a declassified report that found Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign to help Trump win the presidency.
Morell said Trump’s rejection of the CIA’s assessment about Russia’s interference is “an unprecedented political challenge for our national security establishment” and “a danger to the nation.”
While Morell called Trump’s Friday intelligence briefing “a step in the right direction,” he also said “his disparagement of American intelligence officers over the last few months is likely to cause significant damage to the CIA.”
Trump’s comments will make it difficult for the agency to work with other foreign intelligence services and develop foreign assets, Morell explained.
“Why would a foreign intelligence service take the CIA seriously (and share important information with it) when the American president doesn’t?” he wrote.
Trump, who signaled throughout his presidential campaign that he wanted to improve relations with Russia, has criticized the Intelligence Community for its assessments about Russia’s interference in the United States election.
After the Washington Post reported last month on a CIA assessment that concluded Russia meddled in the election in an effort to help Trump win, Trump’s transition team slammed the CIA, citing its intelligence about supposed weapons of mass destruction in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Morell previously criticized Trump in an August op-ed for the New York Times in which he declared his support for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He also argued that Trump posed a threat to national security.