Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CIA Spymaster Michael Morell to speak at Books-a-Million

     I received a notice from the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) yesterday. It notified members that former CIA Deputy Director, Michael Morell, will give a talk at Books-a-Million this Saturday (May 16) from 1-3 p.m. at 1451 Chain Bridge Rd, McLean, VA. He will no doubt discuss his new book, "The Great War of Our Time."

     It should be an informative talk, for Morell worked within the CIA for 33 years and is now a Senior Fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center. He has seen much, being alongside President Bush on 9/11 and with President Obama when Osama bin Laden was finally brought to justice. He saw the agency he loves make heroic efforts to protect America, and he witnessed intelligence failures as well. Through it all, he learned a great deal about what works, and what doesn't, in a war we did not choose but which we cannot lose.

     So, if you're around McLean, VA this Saturday, you may want to attend his talk. Morell believes 9/11 was a national failure and not a failure of imagination as argued by the 9/11 Commission. He also says it is a myth that the Bush White House forced the CIA into its position on Iraqi W.M.D; however, he strongly believes that Vice President Cheney's office tried to pressure theAgency to conclude that there were links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. I might add that Cheney made dozens of unprecedented visits to the CIA during those years and bombarded middle-managers with questions about WMD's in Iraq. I'm sure the lower level analysts felt compelled to write reports of scanty evidence of WMD existence in Iraq as a result.

     Morell never held back in voicing his expert opinion, which he habitually bases on supportable evidence. He feels that the Arab Spring has been a boon to Al Qaeda because it left countries either unwilling or unable to confront extremists, and he dismisses Republican chargesthat the CIA conspired with the White House to spin the Benghazi story. In Morell's assessment,  the agency should get out of the "talking point" business.

     He justifies why the U.S. government's drone program has prevented another 9/11 and why the charges of significant collateral damage are wrong. Morell contests that the report of Senate Democrats on the CIA's detention and interrogation program after 9/11 is a deeply flawed document, and argues that Edward Snowden isn't telling us the real story behind his NSA leaks.

     Unfortunately, he has stated time and again that this war against Islamic extremism will last generations and specifies what needs to be done if we are to win it. It will last much longer than our Cold War with Russia.

Robert Morton, Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes the online spy novel series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean".  The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. Contact him on the Secure Contact Form

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