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Tags: h.r. mcmaster | james clapper | national security adviser

James Clapper: Firing McMaster Would Be Bad Idea

James Clapper: Firing McMaster Would Be Bad Idea
(Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 16 March 2018 09:32 AM EDT

Firing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster would not be a good idea with the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looming, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Friday.

"Conventionally, with everything that's going on, you wouldn't want to make a change like that with this forthcoming summit in may with North Korea," Clapper told CNN "New Day" co-host Alisyn Camerota. "You would like to have as much preparation time for something as momentous as this is potentially."

However, Clapper said, the "bench on Korean expertise" in the Trump administration is a "little thin," especially following Monday's announcement about the retirement of Joseph Yun, the United States' special envoy to North Korea.

"We don't have an ambassador in Seoul yet," said Clapper. "Now, having said that, I think now director of CIA [Mike] Pompeo can certainly forge that continuity. Of course I don't know that he will be in place as secretary of state. We shouldn't take for granted the confirmation process. And I do wonder whether confirmation fatigue will set is in the Senate with constant turnover."

Clapper said there also would be nationals security concerns should McMaster lose his job.

"That's why, you know, I think the continued presence and continued tenure of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is so crucial," said Clapper. "But having been in that apparatus myself for a long time, it is disruptive when you have the constant turmoil and turnover."

Clapper on Friday also discussed the ongoing issues with Russia, telling Camerota there is "no doubt that they are a foe," and he continues "to worry about the ambiguity displayed by this administration in respect to Russia."

"Russia, first of all, poses the greatest existential threat to this country," said Clapper, "just evidenced by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's recent speech in which he rolled out five strategic weapons systems of varying degrees of maturity which are designed only for one adversary, and that's the United States."

Russia also is waging an information warfare, and has been doing so for some time, said Clapper, in order to "undermine us, undermine our system."

The Trump administration has sanctioned Russia for election meddling, but Clapper said the White House should also be troubled about the nation's attempt to attack the U.S. energy grid.

"There have been public pronouncements about this before, [but it] just didn't get the attention," said Clapper. "The danger here is Russian cyber reconnoitering, I will say, where they reconnoiter and understand our networks, and then implant imbeds to disrupt them, at a time of their choosing."

Clapper told Camerota that it was "about time" for the sanctions that were enacted this week against Russia.

"The last sanctions imposed by the last administration were on the 29th of December of 2016," he said. "It has been 15 months, and it was in October when Congress almost unanimously on a bipartisan basis passed sanctions imposing more sanctions on Russia."

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Politics
Firing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster would not be a good idea with the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looming, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Friday.
h.r. mcmaster, james clapper, national security adviser
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2018-32-16
Friday, 16 March 2018 09:32 AM
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