A veteran CIA official explained why he was so troubled by White House “shenanigans” around which aides have access to classified materials.
John Sipher, who retired in 2014 after serving 28 years in the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, said he wasn’t necessarily worried that senior White House officials could be blackmailed over undisclosed domestic abuse allegations or millions of dollars in debt.
“The big issue here is that the world is watching,” Sipher said. “Our partners overseas who help us so much on intelligence issues and our adversaries are watching all this, and they see the shenanigans and realize that we have the third string in the White House.”
The former station chief said inexperienced advisors such as Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, should even not be working in the White House.
“It’s that it used to be to work in the White House you had a full career of experience and you are a serious person who did serious work,” Sipher said. “When we have a 30-year-old who has never done anything running China and the Middle East and these other kind of things, I’m more worried about that for the health of our country than whether his security clearance.”
He said Kushner’s lack of qualifications were more discrediting than his blackmail risk.
“Now people talk about he could be blackmailed or something — I don’t believe that,” Sipher said. “I think it would be hard to get access to him. Recruiting spies is hard, and recruiting spies in the White House would be almost impossible. But what’s more important to us, really, is his capability and his qualifications — and they’re not there.”
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Bill Barr quietly pulls off a shake-up in a federal prosecutor’s office — but why?
Attorney General Bill Barr’s attempt last month to push U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman out of his position at the Southern District of New York blew up in his face. While Berman was ousted, Barr didn’t get the replacement he wanted, and House Democrats are now investigating.
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