National Security

Former CIA officer blasts Trump over attacks on FBI

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John Sipher, a former officer in the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, blasted President Trump’s attacks on the FBI on Saturday, suggesting that the administration has sought to make the agency out to be an “enemy” of the president.

“It seems like people … like the president are speaking to a small base of people who want — just like the Iranians do — to create a straw man to consider an enemy,” Sipher said on MSNBC.

“They’ve tried to suggest that the FBI and CIA and Justice Department somehow are an enemy of the administration and, therefore, need to be taken down,” he added. “And that’s just nonsense, is what that is.”

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Trump has repeatedly accused the FBI of mishandling investigations and of losing the American public’s confidence. He said earlier this month that the bureau’s reputation was “in tatters.”

The president has also cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that the Russian government sought to disrupt and influence the 2016 presidential election, and has called investigations into the matter a “witch hunt.”

Allies of the president and some congressional Republicans have called the FBI’s objectivity and fairness into question, particularly in regard to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

That criticism has grown in recent weeks after it was revealed that an FBI agent assigned to Mueller’s probe had sent text messages criticizing Trump during the 2016 election. That agent, Peter Strzok, was removed from the investigation over the summer, after the Justice Department became aware of the messages.

Tags CIA Donald Trump FBI Justice Department Robert Mueller

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