Former Top Spook Spills His National Security Fears

Starting with an al-Qaeda attack on home soil
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2015 12:56 PM CDT
Updated May 12, 2015 1:19 PM CDT
Former Top Spook Spills His National Security Fears
In this April 2, 2014, file photo, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Intelligence Committee.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Michael Morell may have left his post as acting director of the CIA, but he's still haunted by fears of another attack like 9/11, which he guesses would involve al-Qaeda bringing down an airliner on American soil, potentially killing hundreds of people. "If that happened tomorrow, I would not be surprised," Morell tells USA Today in a less-than-sanguine interview about his new book, The Great War of Our Time. "If we don’t keep pressure on the terrorists, they are going to rebound until they're able to conduct another 9/11-style attack," he adds, per Politico. "One of the reasons I wrote the book is that I wanted American people to know that." He also mentions concerns about terrorists, perhaps from ISIS or al-Shabab, carrying out attacks on US shopping malls, similar to the 2013 assault in Kenya. That "really worries me," he says.

His book doesn't just serve to scare, though. Morell, who spent 33 years at the CIA, also aims to dispel three myths about the agency—specifically that it's "rogue," has any resource at its disposal, and "that we can't get anything right," Morell says. "We get many things right but we also make mistakes." One such error related to Saddam Hussein. "We said he has chemical weapons, he has a biological weapons production capability, and he's restarting his nuclear weapons program," Morell tells CBS News. "We were wrong on all three of those." Morell also touches on the attack in Benghazi, suggesting the State Department should have increased security at the consulate just as the CIA did in Libya. As for Seymour Hersh's claim that the US lied about the killing of Osama bin Laden, it's "absolutely not true," Morell says. "His source has no idea what he's talking about." (Read more Michael Morell stories.)

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