Ex-CIA official: We could have gotten more for agreeing to North Korea summit

Ex-CIA official: We could have gotten more for agreeing to North Korea summit

Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell on Sunday said that he believes President TrumpDonald John TrumpScarborough mocks 'Deflection Don' over transgender troop ban Pelosi condemns Trump's 'cowardly, disgusting' ban on transgender troops Trump moves to ban most transgender people from serving in military MORE could have gotten more in exchange for agreeing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Morell said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the North Koreans highly value the appearance of a meeting with the U.S. and might have agreed to more as part of the agreement.

“So, I think that North Korea in general and Kim Jong Un, in particular, put a very high value on being seen as meeting with the president of the United States,” he said. “It gives him legitimacy both at home and abroad. It's very important to him. He has gotten — he will get that if this happens.”


“He has only given a short-term freeze in missile and nuclear tests, right? I think we could have gotten more for what he really wanted here,” Morell added.

The ex-CIA official's comments come after an announcement made at the White House last week that Trump had agreed to meet face-to-face with Kim. South Korean officials have said that Pyongyang wants to begin discussions about halting nuclear tests. 

The president said on Saturday that he trusts the North Koreans will cease their tests while negotiations take place and believes the summit will go well.

Morell on Sunday said that both the U.S. and North Korea feel they are coming to the meetings from a position of strength, which could set the tone and expectations for the meeting.

The high stakes of the summit have left many lawmakers feeling anxious, especially after it was reported that Trump accepted North Korea’s offer for the meeting on the spot, without discussing it with his advisers.

Morell said the best outcome would be if both sides agreed on “a set of principles by which negotiations would continue at a lower level.” The worst outcomes, Morell said, would be if the U.S. takes pressure and sanctions away from North Korea in exchange for something of little significance or if talks break down.

Morell said that the South Koreans, Japanese, Chinese and Russians also need to be included in the negotiations.

“It is very, very important to keep our alliance structure together, the South Koreans and the Japanese, not only because of North Korea, but because of China as well,” Morell said.