James Woolsey, former CIA director during the Clinton administration, currently a senior adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, joined Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow to talk about the “Securing America” segment of Monday night’s presidential debate.
Woolsey began by discussing his political evolution, cheerfully taking issue with Marlow’s description of him as a one-time “Clintonista”: “Well, I haven’t been an ‘-ista’ of anything, except over the decades, I called myself a Scoop Jackson/Joe Lieberman Democrat,” he said, acknowledging that “there aren’t many of us left.”
I’ve served four presidents, had presidential appointments in four administrations, two Republican and two Democratic: Reagan, Bush I, Carter, and Clinton. I work in the national security area, and I think it’s important to serve the government, and have the government do the right things if you can help them in those areas. For me, politics – in a very old-fashioned way – kind of stops at the water’s edge.
He added, “But we’re in a very complex and difficult situation now, I think, and although I advise the Trump campaign on national security matters, obviously if I’m an adviser, I’ll get into some of these other issues a bit, too.”
He said he thought Trump did a good job on dissecting the Iran nuclear deal:
He’s right, absolutely, I think on the issue. This is as bad as international agreements get. It’s not even really an agreement in which there’s trade-offs and compromises, and you get it written down, and everybody agrees you’ve got to follow it.
That’s not what the Iranians do at all. They’re into humiliation. Their purpose is to look dominant. They have no intention of following the words of the treaty, and they are not. The Obama administration has made it easy for them to profit hugely by getting the money that was sequestered as part of their other activities, supporting terrorism, and the like.
So I think Trump was right on, on this one. He seemed to be well-briefed, and I don’t think Hillary Clinton did a good job at answering it.
Woolsey said Trump made an “excellent point” about Clinton and Obama perpetually telegraphing their anti-terrorism strategies to the Islamic State and other enemies:
It may not have been optimally applied in this particular discussion, but he’s on to something that the Obama administration and its State Department under Hillary [have] done very badly, which is ignore the substance and be the slave of the narrative.
They fiddle around with the facts, in order to make them fit into their narrative, rather than seeing what reality is, and changing their story to comport with reality if they have to.
I think that Trump raised that overall issue well, in terms of not disclosing everything that you are doing, just in order to get good PR. Within hours of bin Laden having been killed, they had people out backgrounding on how they had tricked the guards this way and how they’d done that way.
That’s just ridiculous. That’s a terrible idea. Churchill says in war, truth is always so important that it must be protected by a bodyguard of lies. They don’t protect it at all.
Marlow asked if Trump did an adequate job of forcing Clinton to defend her record as secretary of state and senator. Woolsey replied that Trump “raised that spectrum of issues, but didn’t really stay with it, as long as I think it would have been a good idea.”
“It would have been better to have spent a number of minutes, and continuing to hammer on that,” he suggested, adding:
When you’re hammering on something in a debate, you don’t have to growl. You can, as T.R. says, speak softly and carry a big stick. You can politely smile and raise these devastating issues about how badly she has done things, with respect to security, and her communications systems, and the works. I would have liked to have seen us stay on that one longer.
Woolsey looked forward to the next debate occurring in the national security field, where he thought it was important for Trump to “get people to understand that under the Obama administration, we have let our military deteriorate badly, in terms of their readiness, in terms of the quality of their equipment, in terms of their training”:
Sequestration has just done devastating things to that, so one of the things you’ve got to do is refurbish the military, and do that right. Then, also, our nuclear establishment, which has to be dealt with very carefully and very thoroughly, has been neglected. Obama hates nuclear weapons, and he doesn’t want to spend any money on trying to maintain them, so our nuclear stockpile really requires some attention.
And then, finally, it’s something I think could be said and discussed to Hillary’s disadvantage, which is that you now have Russian leaders, including senior generals, talking about what they call a “no con,” the next war will be a “no contact” war.
What they mean by that is that it will not be contact between shrapnel and humans. There will not be that kind of contact much. It will be a war of electronics, of hacking, of electromagnetic pulse detonations in the stratosphere, destroying people’s equipment, and so forth, and so forth.
It’s a different world, and trying to deal with it the way the Obama administration has is like being in 1914 and figuring that everything from now on is just gonna be rifles. There’s never gonna be a next World War One, and then Two, and tanks, and blitzkriegs, and so forth. We’ve got a lot to make up for a neglected past. We have got a lot to do in this new world of what the Russians call no-contact war.
I don’t think this is an area Hillary is comfortable in, and I think Trump inherently understands it. He needs to confidently talk about some of these issues and give people the – I think accurate – perception that he would be a good leader in a crisis, or in a serious mess of some kind, because he’s dealt with them all his life. And Hillary would not.
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