• 23 September, 2021 9:49 am

Michael Morell on “Face the Nation”

The next is a transcript of an interview with former Appearing CIA Director Michael Morell that aired on Sunday, September 12, 2021, on “Face the Nation.”



Michael Morell wearing a suit and tie: screen-shot-2021-09-12-at-11-04-26-am.png


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MARGARET BRENNAN: For extra evaluation on the threats going through the nation, we flip to Michael Morell. He is a former appearing director of the CIA and a CBS Information contributor. Nice to have you ever right here.

Morell says Taliban’s victory “completely impressed jihadists everywhere in the world

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FMR. ACTING AND DEPUTY CIA DIRECTOR MIKE MORELL: Nice to be right here, MARGARET. Good to have you ever again. 

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MARGARET BRENNAN: Thanks. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the top of al Qaeda, issued a video on the twentieth anniversary of the assaults. The U.N. mentioned in July he is dwelling in Afghanistan, is he?

MORELL: We predict so, which implies that the Taliban is harboring Zawahiri right now. The Taliban is harboring al Qaeda right now. And I believe that is an important level.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So is that only a full false premise then to say that pulling out of Afghanistan, we are able to nonetheless hold the risk from al Qaeda at bay?

MORELL: We now have a whole lot of work to do so as to do this, proper? We now have to determine how we’ll gather intelligence, two varieties of intelligence. How are we going to ensure that Al Qaeda just isn’t rebuilding its capabilities and is planning on attacking us once more? After which now we have to- if we do this, then now we have to gather the sort of intelligence that offers you the precision it’s worthwhile to conduct strikes, proper? Drones have to be informed precisely the place on the earth to go. What tells you that’s precision intelligence. So a whole lot of work for the intelligence neighborhood to do right here going ahead.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we have seen a few of that. If you happen to comply with headlines, the CIA director in Pakistan this week, he is already mentioned beneath oath Invoice Burns that you’ll have fewer intelligence instruments should you pull out U.S. troops. So what precisely do we want and is not build up within the area the alternative of what the president meant to do, which was take a look at Asia and threats elsewhere?

MORELL: So now we have China, proper? China is a giant downside. It is the large strategic risk going through the US. We received to- now we have to- now we have to pivot to that, however we additionally should hold our eye on terrorism. And there is terrorists in a whole lot of totally different locations on the earth. The president is true about that. However I believe the place the place we’re most in danger from over the long run and the intelligence neighborhood is saying 12 months, so the long run is sort of brief right here, is Afghanistan, proper? So al Qaeda may bounce again in as shortly as 12 months in Afghanistan if we do not do what we have to do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So after I speak to sources about this, what they are saying to the argument you simply laid out is, effectively, why Afghanistan? Why regroup there? Why should not we be as apprehensive about Central Africa and Al-Qaeda’s presence there? What’s your response to that?

MORELL: So proper now, the locations I am most apprehensive about are ISIS in Africa and al-Shabab in Somalia. However long run, I fear most about Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and- and ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Why? As a result of on the finish of the day, a very powerful factor that- {that a} terrorist group can have a very powerful determinant of their success is protected haven. Proper? And- and you’ve got protected haven in Afghanistan that you simply actually cannot have anyplace else since you’re being harbored now by the Taliban. And Afghanistan is a giant place. It is robust to get to. It is robust to search out companions. We simply heard about that earlier within the present. In order that’s why I fear extra about Afghanistan.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So are we extra in danger than with out the navy presence there?

MORELL: We’re extra in danger, undoubtedly, as a result of we’ve not but, as we heard from Consultant Kinzinger, we’ve not but put collectively a technique for a way we’ll do the 2 issues. So one, proper, is to gather that intelligence that I talked about. The intelligence neighborhood’s received to determine that out. Then the Division of Protection has to determine this over the horizon functionality, proper? So when the intelligence neighborhood says, Mr. President, they’re rebuilding once more, they’re attending to the purpose the place they will assault the homeland once more. And the president says, take motion. The navy has to have the ability to attain in and degrade Al-Qaeda, proper? We have not figured these two issues out but.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And- and on that time, over the horizon, it is only a euphemistic phrase for flying in drones and planes from distant. So that you had this drone strike that now the New York Occasions and The Washington Publish is elevating questions on. This was to focus on a few of the members of ISIS who killed US troops and over 100 Afghans just some weeks in the past. So, did we really kill the particular person meant and if we did not, would not that present that over the horizon has some issues?

MORELL: So, so- so this wasn’t over the horizon, proper? This- this was carried out with belongings in Afghanistan. You have to bear in mind that–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Property nonetheless in Afghan?

MORELL: Sure. You recognize what occurred right here, it must be investigated. And I might hope that the administration, as soon as it does the investigation that it tells all of us publicly precisely what occurred and if we made a mistake, why. You recognize, President Obama was very robust on being open about making errors with drone strikes. And I believe this administration must do the identical.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that is a query for the Pentagon, or that is a query for the CIA?

MORELL: It is a query for the White Home.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Secretary of State will sit for questions tomorrow. For the very first time the administration goes to have to clarify this chaotic withdrawal. You hear concerning the Taliban impact, that jihadis checked out this, checked out American troops exiting and mentioned, it is attainable that they’re impressed by this. How a lot ought to we be involved about that now?

MORELL: I believe that the Taliban successful the conflict in Afghanistan after which the best way our exit occurred has completely impressed jihadists everywhere in the world. The Taliban is saying we simply did not defeat the US. We defeated NATO. We defeated the world’s best navy energy ever. So there is a celebration occurring. We defeated the Soviet Union. Then it fell. Now we have defeated NATO. Proper? Perhaps they will fall, too. I believe not solely will jihadists be impressed, however a whole lot of them are going to come back to Afghanistan to be a part of the celebration, to be heart- to be a part of jihadist central. So after 9/11, they’re scattered from Afghanistan. I believe we’ll see a movement again in, and that is one of many issues that makes Afghanistan extra harmful than different spots on the planet.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We are going to keep watch over it. Mike Morell, thanks on your evaluation. We’ll be proper again.

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