On Monday, former CIA officer and national security analyst Robert Baer ripped into President Donald Trump on CNN, amid new reports that the president’s lack of security with Russian officials forced intelligence operatives to withdraw a deeply embedded U.S. spy.
“It’s enormous,” said Baer. “This guy apparently had access to The Kremlin, which is very rare. He would have been handled by the CIA on what’s called a BIGOT list, maybe five, six, seven people knew his identity, and his position. That’s very few people. That would be the director, the deputy director, and so forth. Losing somebody like this, you know, it’s huge. It’s just — I’ve never heard of a case where an agent was exfiltrated, brought out of Moscow, because the White House had the potential to expose him, or that’s what the CIA thought.”
The consequences of this withdrawal, warned Baer, could be more serious than laypeople will ever know.
“Losing source like this, as I said, is an enormous loss, especially at a time when the Russians were involved in our elections and will probably be involved in the 2020 elections,” said Baer. “You know, pulling sources out of Moscow pretty much makes us blind.”
“This is not the first time we’ve heard of those concerns,” said anchor Jim Sciutto. “I’m told, as I noted, by five sources, including those serving in the Trump Administration, that there were broad concerns even beyond the May 2017 Oval Office meeting, that the Trump/Putin meeting in Hamburg in July 2017 — how significant of a concern is that to you?
“Well, look, Jim, the CIA and FBI has never trusted Trump since he went to Moscow in 1987, a trip sponsored by the KGB,” said Baer. “He comes back to the United States and says he’s going to run for president. That’s never been explained. All the Russian money that has gone through the Trump empire, that’s never been explained. I don’t care what Mueller report says, there’s a lot of counterintelligence questions out there we don’t have answers for. So the CIA, when they look at the president and he spills a secret, a special access program to Kislyak and the foreign minister, red flags went up all over. At the very least, he doesn’t understand intelligence.”
“I think if, in fact, the CIA protected the source, they did absolutely the right thing,” added Baer. “Even if it was just a suspicion, they didn’t know anything, they didn’t know of any plans of the president to expose him, they did exactly the right thing. What you do is protect your assets and sources especially in a denied area, bring them to the United States, resettle them in a different name so the Russians can’t assassinate them. This is all very predictable with this president.”
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