In an op-ed published in The New York Times today (Aug. 5), former acting director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Michael Morell announced he will be casting a vote for Hillary Clinton in the November presidential election.
Morell says he is neither a registered Democrat nor a Republican and has “pulled the lever for candidates of both parties” over the years. His support for Clinton, he writes, is based in the belief that she “will deliver on the most important duty of a president—keeping our nation safe.”
Morell was sworn in as the CIA’s deputy director in 2010 and twice served as the agency’s acting director before retiring in 2013. Of Clinton’s work as US secretary of state between 2008 and 2012, he says: “I found her to be prepared, detail-oriented, thoughtful, inquisitive and willing to change her mind if presented with a compelling argument. I also saw the secretary’s commitment to our nation’s security; her belief that America is an exceptional nation that must lead in the world for the country to remain secure and prosperous.”
In contrast, he writes, her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, “is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.”
Morell believes Trump’s ego makes him vulnerable to exploitation by foreign interests. Citing the candidate’s recent endorsement of Russian espionage against Clinton and Trump’s suggestion that he would conduct a NATO-funding litmus test before rushing to the aid of an ally under attack, Morell posits that Russian president Vladimir Putin, himself a former intelligence officer, successfully played upon Trump’s unique vulnerabilities simply by complimenting him.
We’ve reached out to the Trump campaign for a response. In a brief statement posted today to his website, Trump did not directly address the allegations raised by Morell, but argued that “Clinton’s home email server that she lied to the American people about was a profound national security risk,” and called her “unfit to serve” in the White House.