Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in an opinion piece today in the New York Times.
Morell worked for both Republican and Democrat presidents and he recently testified in Congress on the Benghazi attacks on U.S. Marines. In his opinion piece, Morell said GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump is unfit for office and points to Russian President Vladimir Putin “recruited” Trump as an agent of the Russian Federation.
Here is what you need to know about Morell’s endorsement.
1. Morell Has Traditionally Been Mum on Political Positions
Morell claims he is neither a registered Republican nor registered Democrat.
“In my 40 years of voting, I have pulled the lever for candidates of both parties. As a government official, I have always been silent about my preference for president,” he wrote.
He served under both President George W. Bush during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and under President Barack Obama when Osama bin Laden was killed.
2. Morell Is ‘No Longer’ Quiet About His Presidential Preference, Endorsing Clinton
This election cycle is different. Morell wrote in the Times that he will “do everything” to ensure Clinton will be elected.
“No longer. On Nov. 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton. Between now and then, I will do everything I can to ensure that she is elected as our 45th president,” Morell penned.
While it’s a rarity for intelligence officials to endorse candidates, once they’re out of their bureaucratic positions, they have announced their support. This year, former CIA Director Michael Hayden endorsed John Kasich.
3. There Are 2 Reasons Why Morell Is Endorsing Clinton
Morell outlined two reasons why Clinton is a better candidate than Trump: The first, he said, Clinton is “highly qualified” for the post. Secondly, Trump “is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.”
Morell points to the four years he worked with Clinton during her tenure as state secretary. “I found her to be prepared, detail-oriented, thoughtful, inquisitive and willing to change her mind if presented with a compelling argument,” he writes.
The former CIA operative said Clinton was “an early advocate” for the raid that led to bin Laden’s death and she never brought “politics” into the Situation Room.
4. Trump Is ‘an Agent’ of the Russians, Morell Said
Morell wasn’t so kind to Trump and his bid for the White House. The former CIA deputy director explains that Russian President Putin was a former intelligence agent “trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them.” Putin played into Trump’s vulnerabilities in the primaries, Morell claims.
Trump has taken foreign policy positions “consistent with Russian” interests — not American, Morell claims.
“In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” he ended the piece.
5. Trump Is Calling Morell ‘Another Obama-Clinton Pawn’
The Trump campaign responded to Morell’s claims by sending out a press release calling Clinton “unfit” to serve as president.
“Hillary Clinton and President Obama bear the direct responsibility of destabilizing the Middle East,” the release states. “…it should come as no surprise that her campaign would push out another Obama-Clinton pawn (who is not independent) to try to change the subject…”
Trump’s tweets have mirrored that claim: