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Tags: mike morell | cia | terrorism | attack

Fmr CIA Official Morell: Govt Lacks Terrorism Urgency

By    |   Sunday, 23 June 2024 03:59 PM EDT

The government has a lack of urgency over the threat of a terrorist attack on the homeland and is leaving the American public in the dark about what it's doing to address the situation, Mike Morell, former CIA deputy director said Sunday.

"I think the American public needs to understand what the threat is," Morell told CBS' "Face the Nation." "That's why we called for a public congressional hearing just on the terrorist threats to the homeland — not a hearing on threats broadly, but threats to the homeland."

Then, Americans need to hear from the Biden administration what is being done about the situation, "not the details, but in a broad sense," said Morell.

His comments follow an article he co-wrote for Foreign Affairs, "The Terrorism Warning Lights Are Blinking Red Again," in which comparisons were made between the situation the United States is in at this point and what was happening during the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks. 

Morell said Sunday that after publishing the article, the response from current and former intelligence officers and policymakers was "almost universal," which he said signaled to him that there isn't enough urgency from the Biden administration in addressing these threats.

Meanwhile, the United States has been shifting its resources from the counterterrorism community to the Chinese situation, said Morell, which is "understandable to some degree," but has come at a cost to intelligence that's being collected since it's affecting how intelligence is being vetted. 

"There was just a DHS [Department of Homeland Security] inspector general report that outlined all the problems with the vetting system. So it's lack of information, and it is the system itself," said Morell. 

According to to the DHS report, Customs and Border Protection is not able to access all federal data it needs to screen and vet noncitizens trying to enter the United States, and Morell said Sunday the CBP "doesn't have the technology to even connect."

Morell was also asked about a video obtained by CBS News' "60 Minutes" showing Saudi national Omar al-Bayoumi walking around the U.S. Capitol in 1999, within 90 days of when senior al-Qaida planners were deciding on targets for the 9/11 attacks. 

Morell at that time was at the CIA and the FBI identified the man as an intelligence officer with close ties to two of the 9/11 hijackers, but the 9/11 Commission report said there was no credible evidence that he had helped the extremists. 

But Morell said that he has no doubt that what was seen was a "casing video for some sort of terrorist attack," and it was clear that al-Bayoumi was either working for al-Qaida or was part of the organization. 

"Did he know about the 9/11 attacks? Probably not," said Morell. "Did he know that the two individuals he was interacting with were 9/11 hijackers? Probably not."

Still, he said he has no doubt that al-Qaida tasked the Saudi to do the casing video.

And the video was "not like a tourist video," given how the man was talking. 

Morell said the CIA did not know about the video, but if it had, it would have been shown to then-President George W. Bush. 

"I was the president's briefer at the time," he said. "If somebody had shown me this video, I would have shown it to the president."

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Politics
The government has a lack of urgency over the threat of a terrorist attack on the homeland and is leaving the American public in the dark about what it's doing to address the situation, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell said Sunday.
mike morell, cia, terrorism, attack
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2024-59-23
Sunday, 23 June 2024 03:59 PM
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