Ex-Spy Chief Admits Role In 'Deep State' Intelligence War On Trump

An ex-spy chief who spoke out publicly against Trump while inspiring other career intelligence figures to follow suit has admitted his leading role in the intelligence community waging political war against the president, describing his actions as something he didn't "fully think through". In a surprisingly frank interview, the CIA's Michael Morell - who was longtime Deputy Director and former Acting Director of the nation's most powerful intelligence agency - said that it wasn't a great idea to leak against and bash a new president.

Morell had the dubious distinction of being George W. Bush's personal daily briefer for the agency before and after 9/11, and also served under Obama until his retirement. In the summer of 2016 he took the unusual step (for a former intelligence chief) of openly endorsing Hillary Clinton in a New York Times op-ed entitled, I Ran the C.I.A. Now I'm Endorsing Hillary Clinton, after which he continued to be both an outspoken critic of Trump and an early CIA voice promoting the Russian collusion and election meddling narrative.


Acting director of the CIA Michael Morell with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
in 2013. Image source: Wiki Commons, DoD

As Politico's Susan Glasser put in a newly published interview, Morell "has emerged out of the shadows of the deep state" to become one of Trump's foremost critics speaking within the intel community. However, Politico summarizes the interview as follows:

But in a revealingly self-critical and at times surprising interview for this week’s Global POLITICO, Morell acknowledges that he and other spy-world critics of the president failed to fully “think through” the negative backlash generated by their going political. “There was a significant downside,” Morell said in the interview.

Not only had Morell during his previous NYT op-ed stated that he was committed to doing "everything I can to ensure that she is elected as our 45th president" but he went so far as to call then candidate Trump "a threat to our national security" - while making the extraordinary claim that "in the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

Curiously, Morell in his latest Politico interview indicates when asked about his "public profile" and activism so soon after leaving the agency (something that was relatively unusual prior to Trump taking office) that his post-retirement media appearances have been approved and/or received some level of oversight by the CIA. In the interview Morell states, "I did a 60 Minutes interview about my life inside CIA, and it’s something the agency thought that was a good thing to do, and I taped most of it before I left the agency." 

While such CIA review of former employees' publications and media interaction is nothing new, in Morell's case was an unprecedented example of a very high profile intelligence figure explicitly campaigning for a presidential candidate and against another while specifically invoking his role at the CIA (he began his NYT column with, "During a 33-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, I served presidents of both parties — three Republicans and three Democrats..." followed by a litany of key national security events he was central to).

The other important confirmation to come out of the discussion is the clear guiding assumption of the interview - that the intelligence "deep state" did in fact go to war with Trump - which has now been confirmed by Morell himself, which is essentially to hear it straight from the horse's mouth.

The key exchange in the Politico interview begins as follows:

Glasser: Okay, so, flash-forward a year. Was that a mistake?

 

Morell: So, I don’t think it was a mistake. I think there were downsides to it that I didn’t think about at the time. I was concerned about what is the impact it would have on the agency, right? Very concerned about that, thought that through. But I don’t think I fully thought through the implications.

 

And one of the ways I’ve thought about that, Susan, is—okay, how did Donald Trump see this? Right? And from—it’s very important—one of the things we do as intelligence analysts is make sure that our guy—the president—understands the other guy. Right?

 

So, let’s put ourselves here in Donald Trump’s shoes. So, what does he see? Right? He sees a former director of CIA and a former director of NSA, Mike Hayden, who I have the greatest respect for, criticizing him and his policies. Right? And he could rightfully have said, “Huh, what’s going on with these intelligence guys?” Right?

Morell here seems to confirm Trump's narrative of events concerning Russiagate "fake news" and willful intelligence leaks intended to damage the president, despite his opening obfuscation of "I don't think it was a mistake" (so he's essentially admitting the negative consequences but with no regrets).

Surprisingly, Morell even implicates himself with the words, "And then he sees a former acting director and deputy director of CIA criticizing him and endorsing his opponent."  The interview continues:

Glasser: It embroiders his narrative.

 

Morell: Exactly. And then he sees a former acting director and deputy director of CIA criticizing him and endorsing his opponent. And then he gets his first intelligence briefing, after becoming the Republican nominee, and within 24 to 48 hours, there are leaks out of that that are critical of him and his then-national security advisor, Mike Flynn.

 

And so, this stuff starts to build, right? And he must have said to himself, “What is it with these intelligence guys? Are they political?” The current director at the time, John Brennan, during the campaign occasionally would push back on things that Donald Trump had said.

 

So, when Trump talked about the Iran nuclear deal being the worst deal in the history of American diplomacy, and he was going to tear it up on the first day—John Brennan came out publicly and said, “That would be an act of folly.” So, he sees current sitting director pushing back on him. Right?

 

Then he becomes president, and he’s supposed to be getting a daily brief from the moment he becomes the president-elect. Right? And he doesn’t. And within a few days, there’s leaks about how he’s not taking his briefing. So, he must have thought—right?—that, “Who are these guys? Are these guys out to get me? Is this a political organization? Can I think about them as a political organization when I become president?”

 

So, I think there was a significant downside to those of us who became political in that moment. So, if I could have thought of that, would I have ended up in a different place? I don’t know. But it’s something I didn’t think about.

Despite Morell's attempts to mitigate his own significant contributions toward creating a climate of distrust between the White House and the intelligence bureaucracy, it seems clear to the interviewee that Morell's admissions lend credence to Trump's side.

Indeed, Susan Glasser reasons, based on Morell's unexpected confessions, that "you or others who spoke out and have continued to speak out actually tend to underscore his feeling that there’s a political divide."

Glasser: Well, it’s very interesting, because of course, there are so many things you don’t know at that moment in time, including, of course, I’m sure you assumed, along with everybody else, that Hillary Clinton was likely to be elected, and you saw this as contributing to that in some way. But it’s certainly relevant in the context of the situation we find ourselves in a year later. And, if it tends to embolden Trump in his critique of your former colleagues who are still serving in the intelligence agencies, and not only has this been a theme that he has struck repeatedly to criticize—but also to politicize this.

 

And inadvertently, perhaps, you or others who spoke out and have continued to speak out actually tend to underscore his feeling that there’s a political divide, and now you and others are on one side of it, and potentially all your former colleagues, and then he’s on the other side of it...

 

Morell: Yeah, and you can’t pick and choose like that. And when people in the intelligence community—particularly people in CIA, because for every other part of the intelligence community except CIA, you’re working for a cabinet member. At CIA, you are working for the president of the United States. That is your customer. Right? 00:08:03 So, when you see your customer questioning what it is that you are providing to him or her, and that person seems to be cherry-picking what they accept and what they don’t accept, it’s demoralizing. And when it’s demoralizing, people take actions, right? So, I live pretty close to the agency, and there’s a coffee shop between me and the agency, and I’ve met a number of agency officers in that coffee shop who have said to me, “I’m thinking about leaving.”

Yet Morell in a round about way previously admitted that he is personally one of the chief authors of precisely this "demoralizing" scenario in which the president doesn't fully trust his intelligence briefers.

But we should all remember that this is a man who on the one hand described "Russia's hacking is the political equivalent of 9/11" and constantly hyped "Russian propaganda", while on the other he went on a lengthy RT News segment in order to promote his newly published book.

Comments

LawsofPhysics Mon, 12/11/2017 - 18:04 Permalink

LOL!!!  Information like this is "released for public consumption"...Speaking as former ARMY-AMMED who knew many "spooks"...It's all about the law of averages. Right now the average america is a fat, lazy, piece of shit.Revolutions require motivation and sacrifice.  Look the fuck around, we got a ways to go "folks".In the meantime..."Full Faith and Credit"

shivura overbet Mon, 12/11/2017 - 18:13 Permalink

tell you what, we'll admit the intelligence agencies are undermining trump if you guys objectively look at all the evidence.

here's a test to see whether your brains are capable of objective thought:
name the most damning (or least undamning) piece of evidence tying the Trump camp to Russia...

if you can't think of anything, means you have a black/white brain like idiot Islamic terrorists.

In reply to by overbet

Buckaroo Banzai SMG Mon, 12/11/2017 - 19:01 Permalink

Mike Morell is a dopey shabbos goy who is just starting to get the idea that the Jews are going to hang him out to dry for a lot of shit-- some of which he did, and some of which he didn't do.I'd almost feel bad for him, except there is nothing worse than a traitor, so fuck you Mike.

In reply to by SMG

NoDebt Whoa Dammit Mon, 12/11/2017 - 20:58 Permalink

Short version of article:  You mean my actions have consequences?  I never thought about that.I mean, really, how much cool-aid do you have to drink to get that stupid?  My guess is... not very much, actually.  Same reason that "journalists" have reported about half a dozen completely false Trump stories in the last week or so.  They simply cannot get past their own cognitive dissonance.  Nor do they seem to want to.Only now, as he can actually hear the footsteps coming up behind him, is he just starting to wake up from his coma and look around at reality.  Too little, too late. BTW- I fully endorse overbet's comment.  How is this not admission of treason? 

In reply to by Whoa Dammit

jeff montanye DownWithYogaPants Mon, 12/11/2017 - 21:58 Permalink

i fucking love that the thread stops here for me (of course it doesn't, the far more organized b.i. upfronts me), but nevertheless, indeed, down with yoga pants.  short shorts and the whatever are they called semi tongas too.  they don't want sexual harassment but they sure do want fucking when they want it.  made the hunting that much more exciting in my day (the prime season, the 1970's and early/late 60's and 80's).  but the real killer is what the recently demoted to human fucking resources (run by women, i should hope) peter strzok (accent on the second syllable: strizock as in strzokgate).  fuck that corrupt piece of shit who has no idea what the meaning of the rule of law is: https://www.dailywire.com/news/24322/mueller-credibility-plunges-trump-… on to it people; the truth is on our side and trump is about to take some serious risks for peace.help him (with the one state solution 2.0).

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

jeff montanye Joe Davola Mon, 12/11/2017 - 23:22 Permalink

to you and beemasters: oh come the fuck on.  what do you want?  he stopped the cia in syria.  thank you.this guy is starting to look like the real thing.  he may still be a fraud, i grant you.  but it is starting to look like a plan.  hosanna!can everyone just think about it for a good five minutes?:  israel with its hydrogen bombs, murderous nothing yahoos, superb school system (all the teachers are jews), suberb healthcare system (. . .), superb legal system (but for the unspoken, . . . ).  and, shave them and get them in the sun, you can't tell the difference, the dudes even, if you get my drift.and they are about equal in population which will make for moderate politics, unlike south africa, as each side will try to seduce fragments of the other to become the majority.some might cite the u.s. as an example where about equal in population (in a democracy) hasn't lead to "moderate politics" and i'll first cite the 1960's which i saw up close and personal and just dodged a draft (if you haven't done it you have no idea).and second i'd cite the 1860's, which i have never seen, even in a dream.so we had best get cracking to avoid the worst case.  

In reply to by Joe Davola

beemasters jeff montanye Tue, 12/12/2017 - 05:54 Permalink

"oh come the fuck on"
Back at ye.

You may want desperately to believe, but when he and family have so much to lose, it's all but a charade. He is a tv personality, after all. Being practically a yes-man to Israel should tell you something. And that's HUGE. Trump's weak spot is his family...and if I know that, do you think the Deep State doesn't??? Wake up!
Forget the small bones they throw at you to keep you hoping and returning to lick his... boots. Be at the fence at least and exercise some caution.

In reply to by jeff montanye

jeff montanye beemasters Tue, 12/12/2017 - 06:47 Permalink

but changing policy in syria is not a small bone.  i'll grant you no one knows the future and he could be a fraud.  but imo it's not wrong to try to popularize an idea (one state solution) by showing ways it is consistent with the actions of others, in this case this not by the book president whom the cia opposed.  they loved the bushes, mccain, romney.  they hated trump and said so.  that means something.  to me trump is a means to an end.  he's not the beatles.  but he does continue to surprise: how much he is causing the deep state to reveal and discredit itself, unlike any other president in my memory.  you couldn't pay enough to have this mueller investigation that keeps driving itself against the shoals of truth and fair play and getting rebuffed, kind of like a reverse version of their experience with the dnc and the email servers.now, imo, is not the time for caution with regard to the middle east.  with the utter failure (it's intent) from the u.s. perspective, of the global war on terror (balkanization aka the yinon plan) and trump's election (for how long?  maybe only two years) there's a window to wrench policy from the failed for fifty years two state plan to the far simpler, easier, safer, you name it one state solution: give palestine and the palestinians, as voting israeli citizens, to israel.  strike while the iron is hot.

In reply to by beemasters

lew1024 NoDebt Mon, 12/11/2017 - 21:45 Permalink

Pretty serious admission from an intel guy, "I didn't see the consequences".But think about it.  If they had the study showing that heads of intelligence agencies did not end up in the baskets as often as heads of other government agencies, we would all know about that. Really, these guys can't brag about much. For reasons of institutional filters they can't possibly be right about much often. E.g. the fact that the USSR was on the way to collapse and the CIA presented them as being ready to invade Europe.Or any of America's wars, terrorist events (the few they and the FBI didn't lead, I mean) or other political events around the world (the ones they and Soros didn't foment, I mean). 

In reply to by NoDebt

Not Too Important NoDebt Mon, 12/11/2017 - 23:03 Permalink

An open admission of treason and sedition, punishable by death, and implicating a very large swath of the intelligence community along with him.

Something very damning is going on behind the scenes for this admission from Morell. He's trying to get ahead of whatever dam is about to break. My guess is the Montgomery hard drives and a shitton of pitbull investigative lawyers with full discretion to shoot to kill.

Or nothing will happen and they're just rubbing our collective noses in their shit.

If #2, go go Fukushima-chan.

In reply to by NoDebt

MoreFreedom Whoa Dammit Mon, 12/11/2017 - 20:45 Permalink

"... this guy is trying to front run an indictment...."I agree.  How did Strozok's texts get exposed?  I'd bet because of the leaks from guys like Morrell, Sessions got a warrant to spy on political minded people in the CIA, FBI and Justice Dept.   Now they are worred about what they've said, while Obama encouraged politization of agencies, starting with the IRS and Tea Party groups.  Don't forget Morell was involved in drafting the Benghazi lying talking points for Obama and Hillary.  He claimed the attack was caused by a video which shows you where he stands.  I'd bet he was involved in the report Obama had made regarding Russian hacking (with no evidence). Obama and Hillary politicized the CIA and who knows where else.http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/05/19/sources-military-… a guy in the CIA, he sure doesn't show much intelligence in failing to think things thru, nor does his dishonesty recommend him.

In reply to by Whoa Dammit

jeff montanye mc888 Mon, 12/11/2017 - 23:59 Permalink

not like say, whoever the hell (how was that important?; she had a 98% chance of winning) was running for president against our gal hillary.  those they got fisa warrants based on oppo research paid for by hillary (hasn't she been mentioned before?).those would be private citizens, not subject to oh let's be frank blackmail and intimidation by having just charmin' (and towerin') jimmy comey tag behind to let wee donny have a glim at the russky whores a pissin' on obama's bed.all this shit fucking happened.  this year and last. rip their guts out. 

In reply to by mc888

mc888 jeff montanye Tue, 12/12/2017 - 01:00 Permalink

Correct. They had to engage in Conspiracy to Defraud the FISA court to gain the warrant used for domestic spying on private citizens.Of course, that's in addition to Conspiracy to commit Espionage by recruiting foreign powers to spy on our domestic citizens. Funny how the head of GCHQ resigned immediately afterward.

In reply to by jeff montanye

Peterk_kk MoreFreedom Mon, 12/11/2017 - 22:32 Permalink

Interesting that you mention Sessions.  I worked in the role of investigator and I developed one particular technique that I found almost foolproof.  Came across it by accident when I started due to my nervousness.  I found that when the investigator shows some sign of hesitancy, lacking skill or even a level of incompetence the person being interviewed starts to get cocky and confident and they feel that they are controlling the situation and then mistakes and confessions happen.  One major incident occured when a person being interviewed had his lawyer present and asked if he could tape the interview / I was also taping the interview.  I said yes then I put on a performance where I exhibited a nervous twitch.  A few minutes into the interview the person accidently admitted the offence and the reason - and it was taped on both systems.  His lawyer was shocked.  Just saying that Sessions' behaviour and recusal may have put many people feel cocky and confident and hence off guard.  If this is the case then my estimation of Sessions ability has gone up.  

In reply to by MoreFreedom

jeff montanye Peterk_kk Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:24 Permalink

you bring up an excellent point in the general and in the particular.  cutting to the chase, trump has, imo, fooled his enemies and supporters by mimicking a presidential version of the buffoon he played on television, unable to stay off twitter (though putting a lot of truth "out there"), having to be supervised by generals, using his family because he has no friends, etc.imo he has, oddly in so unreflective a society, thought profoundly about how his country could be made better, more easily than those (idiots) in charge of policy currently can see.imo it appeals to a person running an enterprise for profit to find the most efficient way.  is the one state solution 2.0 (israel sovereign in palestine, one person one vote in israel) not the most efficient answer to a conundrum since alexander drew his sword on the gordian knot?

In reply to by Peterk_kk

otschelnik Peterk_kk Tue, 12/12/2017 - 03:10 Permalink

Roger that Pkkk.  There are 3 journalists that are getting great info: John Solomon / The Hill, Sara Carter / Circa, and James Rosen / Fox.  Look at their stories on uranium one, Shillary's server, the deep state, and outing virtually all of the SJW turncoats in the FBI and DOJ.  There must be "deep throat(s)" somewhere guiding these journalists.  The counter-coup is on. 

In reply to by Peterk_kk

eatthebanksters HowdyDoody Mon, 12/11/2017 - 22:06 Permalink

Morrell sees the deep state shit uravelling.  Peter Strzok is the thread that when pulled unravels the whole mess.  Morrell, as a top guy in the middle of it and as a former spook educated in the ways of lies, misdirection and propaganda, has 'come out' to make light of his efforts to take down Trump.  "Gee, what we did actually backfired", or in other words, "Gee, what we did actually helped Trump."  Imagine that?  This cocksucker knows he about to get assfucked in prison for a long time so he's trying to soften his punishment. Why the fuck else would he open his mouth and tell everyone he leaked shit to discredit Trump?  When a top level spook leaks shit you know its criminal.MAGA.

In reply to by HowdyDoody

greenskeeper carl Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 12/11/2017 - 19:37 Permalink

I don't feel bad about anything that happens to that guy. Shoulda thought this through a little bit better. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. It is curious that he admits this now. But, unfortunately, since he only tangentally admitted to any of this, and getting to that conclusion requires readng between the lines a little bit, I don't think many people will walk away from this thinking "holy shit, trump was actually right about those guys".  The disappointing thing, though, is that rather than him bending them to his will (or shitcanning the lot of them) they seem to be bringing him around to their way of thinking.

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

Cognitive Dissonance greenskeeper carl Mon, 12/11/2017 - 20:20 Permalink

OMGHow disingenuous can he get?Of COURSE he and the rest of the CIA thought it through. They surveyed the playing field, considered the odds, the present situation and the hoped for outcome and made a conscious and deliberate decision to go balls to the wall.We aren't talking about a frontal lob impulse control stunted teenager here for god sake.

In reply to by greenskeeper carl

jeff montanye old naughty Tue, 12/12/2017 - 07:06 Permalink

well maybe it's just me put i'm going for a long, long period of feces in the face.couldn't happen to a more fitting person.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Yand the thing is, what he is really sorry for and what he didn't think through is how pissed people would be, especially the republican base, perhaps the formerly most cia loyal demographic, by the cia taking so blatant a role in the election then behaving like the sorest of losers.  heads will roll but they are doing a pretty good job now of chopping up each other. 

In reply to by old naughty