Reprinted from Reader Supported News
Former CIA acting director Mike Morell can't help himself. Just days after saying in a New York Times op-ed that he was endorsing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Morell went on the Charlie Rose Show, detached himself from reality, and told his host that he would recommend to the "new president" that she should authorize war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.
Morell said specifically that if he were CIA director, he would advise Clinton to begin surreptitiously killing Russian and Iranian soldiers in Syria, despite the fact that these soldiers have been invited into Syria by that country's internationally-recognized government. Morell said further that he would advise the president to begin bombing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's presidential guard and his personal helicopters and planes. Remember, there has been no U.S. declaration of war against Syria.
I know Mike Morell personally. I worked with him in a variety of capacities at the CIA. Morell is very intelligent. Beyond that, he's a political animal and a survivor. Morell is very introverted, which is not unusual for a career analyst. But his introversion is disarming. Behind that quiet façade is a schemer, a manipulator, and, I believe, a sociopath.
Over the course of his career, Morell held virtually every senior job that a CIA officer could hold. He had served as the head of the President's Daily Brief, and he was President George W. Bush's personal briefer. Indeed, Morell was with Bush on the morning of September 11, 2001, when Bush received the news of that morning's terrorist attacks.
Morell also has served as the deputy executive director of the CIA, as the CIA's first associate deputy director, and then as deputy director for intelligence, in charge of all CIA analysis. He later became CIA deputy director and twice was acting director after the departures of Leon Panetta and David Petraeus.
He was involved in the Never Trump movement before endorsing Clinton this summer.
Morell certainly has the credentials to be CIA director or director of national intelligence. But he is exactly the kind of person from whom the Democratic nominee for president should be running. Morell simply doesn't have the sense of independence necessary for the job.
When I was hired into the CIA's analytic arm in early 1990, I was taught that the golden rule of analysis was that it had to be utterly independent of policy. A CIA analyst could never recommend a policy to the White House, to the Departments of State and Defense, or to any other consumer of intelligence. But on Morell's watch, CIA analysts were mandated to offer policy proposals. This defeats completely the notion of independence of CIA analysis. Morell had changed the CIA Directorate of Intelligence's raison d'etre. That's inexcusable.
At the same time, Morell assumed the tough guy role when he advised President Obama on the Osama bin Laden killing. He seems to like the taste of blood, because now he's advocating illegal force against an internationally recognized chief of state without any legal basis to do so.
There are a lot of good, qualified people whom Hillary Clinton should consider as CIA director -- people who understand that the CIA should not in any way affect policy. Mike Morell shouldn't be one of them.
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