Quantcast
Connect with us

‘Burn it all down’: Ex-intelligence officials appalled Trump may install ‘clueless’ Cotton as CIA head

Published

on

In a stunning report published Thursday, the New York Times revealed Donald Trump’s White House has formulated a plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo. According to the report, the administration has landed on installing Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) as the next CIA head.

Cotton is a vocal advocate of waterboarding and critic of Iran who’s recently downplayed the seriousness of allegations Trump colluded with Russian during the 2016 presidential election.

ADVERTISEMENT

Former CIA officials on Thursday expressed dismay over the potential shakeup. Ned Price, who retired from the CIA in protests over Trump’s administration, called Cotton a “political ideologue” whose appointment would prove the White House does not care about the intelligence community.

Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA, called a possible Cotton appointment “awful,” arguing he’s “not well suited to lead an agency part of whose core mission is objective analysis.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Robert Deitz, former senior councillor to CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden, likewise criticized the report, telling Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand that Cotton “knows absolutely nothing about the intelligence community.”

ADVERTISEMENT

As the Daily Beast reports, former CIA operations officer Glenn Carle blasted Cotton as “wholly unfit to be CIA director.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“Those of us with some knowledge and objectivity have pointed out endlessly that torture does not work, is illegal, is unnecessary and harms the perpetrators of it,” Carle said, adding he believes his “colleagues at the agency will be dismayed” is the senator is appointed.

“We have frankly, at the best, far-right ideologues in leadership positions who frankly have fascistic tendencies,” Carle said of Cotton. “It is difficult to serve the executive, and serve a superior, with views that are fundamentally un-American.”

Intelligence officials outside the CIA were likewise concerned of news Cotton might head the CIA, pointing specifically to the Republican senator’s stance on torture. Last year, Cotton insisted “waterboarding isn’t torture,” telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer the president will have to make a “tough call” about the interrogation method.

ADVERTISEMENT

“If experienced intelligence officials come to the President of the United States and say we think this terrorist has critical information and we need to obtain it and this is the only way we can obtain it—it’s a tough call,” Cotton said. “But the presidency is a tough job. And if you’re not ready to make those tough calls, you shouldn’t seek the office. Donald Trump’s a pretty tough guy, and he’s ready to make those tough calls.”

Former Navy interrogation-resistance instructor Malcolm Nance—who’s been waterboarded—told the Daily Beast he believes Cotton is “clueless about torture.”

“He seems to base his beliefs on the efficacy of torture on B-movies and dog-eared Tom Clancy novels,” Nance said.

“I’d like to think the rhetoric is just rhetoric,” former FBI counterterrorism analyst Dan Jones said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Behind closed doors there is broad consensus that the CIA interrogation program was ineffective, damaging to our standing in the world and detrimental to the safety of our military,” Jones, who was the lead investigator and author of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, told the Daily Beast. “The Committee’s near 7,000-page study of the CIA program, and the CIA’s own internal Panetta Review, leave no doubt as to what are the facts of this matter.”

And yet another former CIA employee was steadfast in his disapproval of Cotton, telling journalist Yashar Ali if Trump installs the GOP senator, “let’s burn it all down.”

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Maddow breaks down potential ‘direct financial connection’ between the Russian government and Donald Trump

Published

on

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow read bombshell excerpts from a new book set for release on Tuesday.

The host interviewed David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, about his forthcoming book Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction.

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" read excerpts from the book.

"There was no doubt that Deutsche Bank had extensive business dealings with Russia, and those dealings included acting as a conduit for dirty money to get out of Russia and into the western financial system," Enrich wrote.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump said he ‘loved’ the fact that America is more divided than ever: ex-GOP congressman

Published

on

President Donald Trump bragged about increasing divisions in America during a White House meeting, a former Republican congressman explained on MSNBC on Monday.

Former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) told host Joy Reid that "Donald Trump has intentionally tried to create the anxiety" that Americans are explaining.

"Garry Kasparov, the Russian freedom activist, has said the point of disinformation isn't to manipulate the truth, it's to exhaust your critical thinking," Jolly explained. "To exhaust your critical thinking, that's what we're experiencing as voters."

"I had a colleague that was in a meeting in the Roosevelt Room and he said he heard Trump say, 'Have you ever seen the nation so divided?' My colleagues and others said, 'No, we haven't.' Trump said, 'I love it that way.' This is the currency that he's peddling as political strategy, but it's not one we have to accept," Jolly explained.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Bloomberg and Biden attack Sanders supporters’ ‘Trump-like’ tactics

Published

on

On Monday, The New York Times analyzed the state of the Democratic presidential primaries heading into the Nevada caucuses. One of the key new developments is a fresh volley of attacks on the behavior of supporters for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), which is being characterized as "Trump-like" by former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, which has largely focused its attacks on President Trump, on Monday mounted a frontal offensive against one of his Democratic rivals for the first time, comparing Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign tactics with those employed by the president," wrote Thomas Kaplan, Kate Conger, and Reid Epstein.

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image