Ex-intel officials bash 'ignorant' Barr for pursuing Trump's vendetta against investigators: 'Collusion in plain sight'
President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr, White House photo by Shealah Craighead

Speaking with Business Insider, a collection of former CIA and FBI employees had nothing good to say about Donald Trump giving free rein to Attorney General Bill Barr to dig into the investigation of the president's campaign and administration.

According to one former FBI agent, Frank Montoya Jr., "given his [Barr's] track record so far as a shill for Trump (as opposed to a defender of the presidency), it is, admittedly, a feeble hope," that Barr will be cautious with the intel he is given.

The report states, "President Donald Trump's decision to grant vast authority to Attorney General William Barr to declassify intelligence as he investigates the origins of the Russia investigation stunned national-security veterans and has the Justice Department hurtling toward a clash with the US intelligence community. "

Former officials who wnet on the record -- and those who wished to remain anonymous -- agreed.

According to Robert Deitz, a former top lawyer at the CIA and the National Security Agency, Trump's order is a "direct insult to the leadership of the intel community."

"There's a reason why the CIA is so vigilant about guarding its sources," a former CIA covert operative who requested anonymity explained. "It's because lives are on the line. The AG is either ignorant of that fact, or he doesn't care. Either way, it's horrifying."

"Why would a source want to cooperate with us if we cannot protect his or her identity?" Montota added. "Or, just as importantly, the information they share with us? It will endanger the lives of sources if their identities or that information becomes public."

Asha Rangappa, a former FBI special agent, expressed fears that Barr would compromise the agencies.

"Make no mistake: If Barr discloses the identities of CIA and [counterintelligence] sources providing information on Russia he is disabling our intelligence capacities to Russia's advantage," she explained. "It puts sources providing intelligence in danger and cripples the [intelligence community's] ability to recruit new sources."

According to Dietz, he doesn't trust Trump or Barr.

"The President has an outcome in mind that he would like to see," Deitz remarked. "And since Barr was so accommodating over the Mueller report, asking him to conduct an investigation, and then giving him declassification authority, suggests that the inquiry has been pre-cooked."

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