On Saturday, former CIA Director Michael Morrell and former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Mike Vickers penned an open letter to Donald Trump in the Washington Post. They both urged the Republican presidential nominee to reconsider his support for Russian president Vladimir Putin. Both Vickers and Morrell have served in both Democratic and Republican administrations and have endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.
“Mr. Trump, with all due respect to you as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, you cannot credibly serve as commander in chief if you embrace Russian President Vladimir Putin,” the letter begins. “The Russian leader has repeatedly shown himself to be an adversary of the United States … He is the last foreign leader you should be praising.”
Noting that Putin has moved Russia “from a fledgling democratic state to an authoritarian one” and meddled in the internal affairs of “a host of nations on his periphery,” Morrell and Vickers remind Trump that in the last two decades, Putin has invaded Georgia and Ukraine, and annexed Crimea, which they call “the first major land grab in Europe since World War II.” The former intelligence operatives also remind Trump that Putin supported the Ukrainian insurgents who took down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (killing 298 innocent civilians), propped up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and jailed and killed political opponents and journalists at home:
“He has neutered the Russian media to the point that he is in complete control of the message reaching the Russian people. He has the popularity that you so admire only because he determines what the Russian people hear about him and his government.”
Morrell served as acting director of the CIA and deputy director of the agency from 2010 to 2013. He was George W. Bush’s briefer during the September 11 attacks. Vickers was the undersecretary of defense for intelligence from 2011 to 2015. He served on George H.W. Bush’s war cabinet.
(Via Washington Post)