The last thing that the president-elect should do is attack and ignore the intelligence agencies, according to “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough. The result will be an administration shredded “with leaks.”
The segment began with a New York Times article that revisits a 2015 interview from Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s new national security advisor.
“They’ve lost sight of who they actually work for,” Flynn said in the interview. “They work for the American people. They don’t work for the president of the United States.” He continued, speaking of the CIA’s leadership: “Frankly, it’s become a very political organization.” They also cited him in another 2015 interview in which he explained, “It’s all political with” the CIA leadership.
Flynn also claimed that the CIA was a pawn in helping President Obama’s reelection campaign.
“They’ve really been lying to the American public,” he said in the interview, referring to the Obama administration and much of the national security and intelligence establishment. “The Department of Defense and those of us that have allowed this sort of a happy talk — ‘We’re moving in the right direction, things are working.’ It’s not. The Taliban are going to come back into power, or ISIS is going to come back into power.”
Joe Scarborough anticipates an unprecedented investigation that will ultimately result from this. “The CIA can cut the new administration to shreds every week with selective leaks, and they will if this relationship is not cleaned up. And to have somebody as your national security advisor, who is accusing the C.I.A., who I said yesterday, is the organization that is on the tip of the spear in the fight against terrorism every day, accuse them of lying. It’s just, it’s mind boggling.”
“Morning Joe” guest Richard Haas, of the Presidential Council on Foreign Relations, argued that the CIA is a tremendous asset because they speak truth to power. Haas argued that especially among this administration, that’s an important quality to have.
“I remember during the Iraq war, when they said in the aftermath, ‘We, by the way, should not get out quickly, because Iraq is going to unravel really fast.’ The Bush Administration didn’t want to hear it,” Haas said. “The CIA had the guts to basically speak truth to power.”
He described them as “really dedicated” people, for whom this is their career to help deliver critical information that helps America’s interest.
“So, I don’t think anybody, whether it’s the national security advisor or anyone ought to pick a fight with them,” Haas continued.
Scarborough said that doing so would be “stupid politically” and “the dumbest thing you can do politically.”
Haas said that the United States spends about $60 billion a year on the intelligence community, presumably because we prioritize it as something important for American interest.
“The CIA bends over backward to protect us,” Scarborough argued. “Their life is dedicated to protecting the United States from terror attacks. They get no credit when they do it because they can’t put out press releases, they can’t reveal all that they’re doing. And yet, they get attacked when certain things go wrong and for somebody, like Lt. Gen. Flynn, to make that cheap shot against the CIA, it’s just unfathomable.”
See the full exchange below:
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) December 13, 2016