Steve Hall, the former CIA head of Russia operations, revealed that the agency was having discussions about whether President Donald Trump would endanger the lives of sources who collect information that damages Russian President Vladimir Putin.
NPR national security correspondent Mary Louise Kelly reported on Monday that falsehoods told by Trump during a recent visit to the CIA may have done more harm than good when it came to repairing relations with the agency.
“He’s saying, I never had a problem with you to begin with,” Kelly explained. “It’s provably not true. In that same speech out of the CIA this weekend, Trump also falsely inflated the size of the crowd at his inauguration.”
According to Kelly, CIA veterans told her that they were insulted because Trump repeated the lies in a room memorializing CIA officers who died in the line of duty.
An ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election on behalf of Trump made his speech to the CIA “awkward,” Kelly said, because officials were worried that the new president may burn intelligence sources who embarrass Putin.
“Here is the question that another CIA veteran put to me after watching Trump’s speech this weekend,” the NPR correspondent stated. “This is Steve Hall. He was CIA chief of Russia operations. And he asked, what happens when the CIA collects a stellar piece of intelligence that maybe puts Vladimir Putin in a bad light?”
“Steve Hall said, what happens when the CIA briefs Trump, and he wants to know the source? And Hall’s quote directly to me was, how can you say, no, we don’t trust you with the sourcing of that information?” she continued. “That is a live question today at Langley.”
Listen to the audio report below.