Former CIA chief: Russia’s hacking ‘political equivalent of 9/11’


Former CIA Director Michael Morell is describing Russia’s potential interference in the U.S. elections as “the political equivalent” of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“It is an attack on our very democracy. It’s an attack on who we are as a people. A foreign government messing around in our elections is, I think, an existential threat to our way of life,” Morell said in an interview published Sunday with The Cipher Brief.

“To me, and this is to me not an overstatement, this is the political equivalent of 9/11.  It is huge and the fact that it hasn’t gotten more attention from the Obama Administration, Congress, and the mainstream media, is just shocking to me.”

The CIA believes Russian hackers were trying to help Donald Trump win the election by obtaining and releasing via WikiLeaks emails from the Democratic National Committee. While that conclusion has been questioned by other intelligence agencies, the disclosure is sparking a new controversy.

{mosads}Congressional Democrats and some Republicans are calling for an investigation into Russia’s interference.

Trump and his allies, though, have dismissed the allegations, and efforts to investigate them, as coming from “people who are bitter their candidate lost.” 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday said that the CIA’s findings should be investigated by the Senate Intelligence Committee, but rejected calls for a special select committee to review the matter. 

Morell backed a congressional investigation, not to determine if the Russians affected the election’s outcome, but to make sure it can’t happen again. 

“The commission shouldn’t look into what is an unknowable thing — which is: did they affect the outcome or not — we’ll never know that. We’ll never know what the Russians did, whether it affected a single vote or not. But what we can do is figure out exactly what they did and make changes here at home as to how information is handled, how we protect information, and make sure they never do this again,” he said. 

“We need to deter the Russians and anyone else who is watching this — and you can bet your bottom dollar that the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Iranians are all watching. We need to deter all of those folks from even thinking about doing something like this in the future,” he added.


Tags Donald Trump Mitch McConnell

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