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Former CIA leader calls Trump 'an unwitting agent' for Russia

Former CIA leader calls Trump 'an unwitting agent' for Russia

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In a New York Times editorial published this morning, former acting director for the CIA Michael Morell called Donald Trump a potentially "dangerous" commander in chief, as he took aim at the candidate's comments on Russia and Vladimir Putin.

"On Nov. 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton," Morell writes. "Between now and then, I will do everything I can to ensure that she is elected our 45th president."

"On Nov 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton."

Morell cites Clinton's experience as Secretary of State as a reason for the endorsement, calling her "prepared, detail-oriented, thoughtful, inquisitive and willing to change her mind if presented with a compelling argument." He points specifically to her work on the Osama bin Laden raid as a demonstration of her qualification for president.

In the editorial, Morell also had sharp words for Trump, saying "he is already damaging our national security" and pointing to the candidate's apparent admiration for Putin as evidence. "Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities by complimenting him," Morell writes. "He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated." He writes that Trump has become "an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation." Trump's relationship with Russia has faced extra scrutiny in recent weeks, after signs pointed to Russian involvement in a hack of the Democratic National Committee.

Morell also criticized Trump's proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States. "In fact, many Muslim Americans play critical roles in protecting our country, including the man, whom I cannot identify, who ran the CIA's Counterterrorism Center for nearly a decade and who I believe is most responsible for keeping America safe since the Sept. 11 attacks," he writes.

Trump has become "an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation," Morell writes

The endorsement from Morell, who most recently served as acting director of the CIA in 2013, is a major mark of approval from the intelligence community (a community Clinton may have lost standing with after the FBI recently criticized her handling of classified information). Although he has stopped short of an endorsement for Clinton, former CIA Director Michael Hayden has publicly expressed similar reservations about a Trump presidency.

"I can argue about this position or that position. I do that with the current president," Hayden said this week. "But [Trump is] inconsistent. And when you're the head of a global superpower, inconsistency, unpredictability, those are dangerous things. They frighten your friends and they tempt your enemies. And so I would be very, very concerned."