In a column written for the Washington Post, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell called out both President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr, saying they were crossing a very dangerous line by proceeding with an investigation into the CIA related to Trump’s own legal difficulties.
According to Morell “From his very first day in office, President Trump has had a strange and, at times, strained relationship with the U.S. intelligence community. The president and his political aides have often challenged the honesty and integrity of the community, damaging morale, undercutting its mission and making the already difficult challenge of uncovering threats to our nation even harder.”
“But, by putting the CIA’s analytic judgment (that one of Russia’s objectives in interfering in the 2016 election was to help then-candidate Trump) into the crosshairs of the Justice Department, as reported by several news organizations , the president and Attorney General William P. Barr are crossing another line,” he added.
According to the former CIA official, he has no problem with if the CIA is investigated for “legal and regulatory responsibilities,” but that Barr — presumably at Trump’s direction — is going too far.
“What I am arguing is that the Justice Department has no standing to review the CIA’s analytic judgment. The whole idea is inappropriate and dangerous. It is certainly unprecedented, and there are good reasons it has never been done before,” he wrote before cautioning, “If the shoe were on the other foot — if a senior intelligence community official were asked to review decisions made by the FBI and career prosecutors — how do we think the attorney general, or career prosecutors, would react? With loud protests, no doubt.”
Stating, “There seems to be an erroneous belief among some that if the analysts had not come to the conclusion that Putin was trying to help Trump, there would not have been an FBI counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign,” Morell shot that notion down before isuing a stern warning.
“A Justice-led review of the quality of intelligence analysis represents yet another weakening of the intelligence community as an institution. The country could be paying for these kinds of decisions for years to come,” he concluded.
You can read the whole piece here.