- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2016

Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, saying Donald Trump is an “unwitting agent” for Russia who will threaten America’s national security.

Michael Morell, who worked under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, wrote in an op-ed Friday for The New York Times that he will do everything he can to ensure Mrs. Clinton wins the White House.

“Two strongly held beliefs have brought me to this decision,” he explained. “First, Mrs. Clinton is highly qualified to be commander in chief. I trust she will deliver on the most important duty of a president — keeping our nation safe. Second, Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.”

Mr. Morell said that in the four years he spent working with Mrs. Clinton when she was secretary of state, he never saw her bring politics into the Situation Room.

“In these critically important meetings, I found her to be prepared, detail-oriented, thoughtful, inquisitive and willing to change her mind if presented with a compelling argument,” he wrote. “In sharp contrast to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief.”

Mr. Morell argued that Mr. Trump had already damaged national security throughout his campaign by becoming an unwitting recruit for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“[Mr. Putin] was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them,” Mr. Morell wrote. “That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated. In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

He also accused Mr. Trump of playing into the hands of jihadis with his evolving proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from entering the U.S.

“This position, which so clearly contradicts the foundational values of our nation, plays into the hands of the jihadist narrative that our fight against terrorism is a war between religions,” Mr. Morell wrote.

“My training as an intelligence officer taught me to call it as I see it. This is what I did for the CIA This is what I am doing now. Our nation will be much safer with Hillary Clinton as president,” he concluded.

Mr. Morell joins a growing number of foreign policy experts who say they will back Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Trump, including former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who are both Republicans.

Frank Lavin, who served as director of the Office of Political Affairs under Ronald Reagan and ambassador to Singapore under George W. Bush, also endorsed Mrs. Clinton in a statement provided to Politico.

“Having served under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, I’ve seen what it takes to be commander-in-chief, and to make split second decisions under extreme pressure – Donald Trump doesn’t have that,” Mr. Lavin said.

“I simply can’t support someone as erratic as Donald Trump,” he added. “That’s why for the first time in my life, I am voting for a Democrat for president, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because she has what it takes to keep our country safe from threats here at home and abroad.”

Mr. Trump issued a statement Friday saying, “[I]t 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 in a week when Clinton’s role in putting Iran on the path to nuclear weapons and this Administration being called out for sending $400 million in cash to the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism is on every front page in the country. Hillary Clinton has bad judgment and is unfit to serve as President.”

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