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sleep eat dog there we go to the little league long before you meet. other people margo bungalows on the local. little. leg. so. welcome to sofia killing sophie shevardnadze dollar trial has locked horns with his own intelligence and law enforcement how damaging can the rift between the white house and the american intelligence get why. i asked him
a decade ca veteran groff larsen. points to the american spy agencies and in a public scandalous political struggle with the investigation of president trump putting the spotlight but his national. agency. professionals at the cia and f.b.i. escape the polarization of politics. public and will therefore radically change the situation in the country. we're all from out larson former cia veteran who served as moscow section chief among other politicians welcome to the show it's really great to have you with us. now wolf the american intelligence community has been accused of being politicized many times in a bush sheriffs' the politicians use it to justify iraq now the agencies are again the world in a political scandal i know you pride yourself on your colleagues for being patry arctic nonpolitical but can you really be about politics in this line of work i
mean that sounds kind of like fairy tale almost. i think it's a standard you have to strive for i've been a lifelong political independent for that reason that you outline that it's crucial for intelligence officers to be independent and objective and serve the country not just the president and the government but we are also all citizens now they. are taxpayer funded they have no private sector competition appointments there are made by politicians how can all that not be politicized. actually the in the intelligence profession all of our officers are career professionals we spend our entire career inside the agency in my case i was undercover for my twenty three years in the cia living abroad for most of those years and frankly i really felt it was not that difficult to me maintain my impartiality and and i think you
have to do that whether you're collecting information or analyzing it or disseminating it which is the central mission of intelligence you have to maintain an ability to tell your policymakers the truth in other words speak truth to power so is it right for an intelligence professional to be vying for a high political office for instance the media in the u.s. are saying that director of the cia mike pumpin maybe replacing secretary of state rex tillerson saying is it steering too much into political territory. there is always a healthy discussion about the idea of particularly former intelligence professionals getting involved in politics i personally don't agree with that as a principle for the same reason for military officers getting involved in politics but peo was a representative who and often are cia directors or they are political appointees point he's and he's in
a long line of cia directors who are political appointees and that is the way our system operates just like many of our bastards overseas are aligned politically always with the president so i don't find that worrisome or disturbing i think it's much more important that the the ranks of the intelligence officers remain professionalized how much freedom does cia have the means to sessions i mean for instance bush administration ran torture prisons and then obama came in and closed them does agency has the power to decide for itself whether it needs things like that and whether it's ethical to. that's a great question sophia i feel the intelligence community has a good set of guidelines it starts with a given set of authorities we have in other words we can conduct certain activities are we call our mission without special authority for example the mission of espionage is a core intelligence mission of all intelligence services we can do that without
seeking approval when we do something like interrogation or enhanced interrogation or have prisons that requires actually what we call a covert action finding that if you have requires a a finding from our department of justice that we can do that activity as well as very strict legal guidelines that are laid out in writing for the agency to follow and at the times when we we run afoul of that when we when we are accused of crossing the line we're held accountable by whatever standard has been laid out by our department of justice and our other authorities that are above us now they involve government agencies in this presidential election someone starting from the f.b.i. role in a clinton e-mail is now the trump investigation investigating both candidates and being quite public about it. it's unprecedented unprecedented isn't it i mean why has the intelligence community taken on this risible and political role this time around. i agree with you actually i find it very regrettable very
concerned about the politicization of intelligence i do agree it's happening to some extent i think the f.b.i. and the cia are still very reliable organizations that that are following their their guidelines i still have complete trust and confidence in the organizations but you're right there's the questions do arise and it's because of the highly politicized nature of our domestic politics right now between the republicans or the democrats and between those who support the president those who don't support the president so i agree it's a very concerning time and i think it's going to be a time when we in a way redefine our limits you know what is the proper role of the cia and the f.b.i. in the in our domestic affairs and we've learned in our history from the past that we should stay out of american politics and the house intelligence committee has released a republican numinous report which contains allegations that asked the ins let the
judge in obtaining permission to spy on trump's presidential campaign this report has already been branded inaccurate and is a part of the blame game or is there some substance to this. personally i think it's the blame game that's my personal view the new paper in my view is a republican version of cherry picking the facts as they choose to present them and now i understand there's another version circulating the democratic version i frankly find that whole process to be regrown also not something i'm proud of as an american i'd prefer to see both parties sit down this and discuss these things not in the public eye without declassifying or releasing classified information i think all of that is not something as an american citizen that i would dorsey or say is a good thing especially as trump's election things haven't been like they used to be before like from what i understand about the american system the nation's
foreign policy is largely decided in the white house and the state department and then there's a congress in the senate and they're more preoccupied with internal matters this time congress is so active in pushing its foreign policy vision on the president why. well i think that's true generally sophia and of course we also have the national security council and unlike russia and some other countries china and others that have a more continuity in foreign policy work and making we we don't do largely through the political nature of our system we were in for a year cycles for a large a large part of that which is consumed with electioneering and campaigning i think that's a weakness of our system i still of course believe in the representative government idea that we that we sacrifice this continuity of stability in our policymaking but it is it is a vulnerability or a weakness and you can really see it right now because. largely because we are dealing with unprecedented issues that we've never had to consider we've never had
such an aggressive intelligence attack if you will on the american democratic institutions and our and our election process that we just had in the previous election that has caused a great deal of this i think soul searching inside the u.s. so we've come now to the share of the trump russia story you said yourself there's no hard evidence yet yet of trump straight on collision with russia so why does the public believe it to be a facts and the media in america reports that as a fact and also. i hope the american people or the media don't believe it as a fact sophie i i see it as the facts are clear that for whatever reason and i question why the russian intelligence services. attacked our system so aggressively but i think that as a fact i don't i don't think that's deniable the question then is what did that do
and what impact did that have on the results of the election and for what reason did russian intelligence conduct that activity i don't have the answers to those questions that i won't speculate because i think that would be irresponsible i think we have to determine what happened and then decide what happened on the basis of the evidence and i don't think we're there yet but that's the thing i don't know that anyone has presented the evidence and the facts have been presented to the public by intelligence agencies american public has been misled intentionally or not by its intelligence community many times like i am i'm thinking w m d's in iraq for instance since the consequences of that are still felt fifteen years or so widely wholehearted face in what the intelligence is telling them about russia now especially what you're saying it's a fact but every time russia asks to show them the facts they they they are unable
to provide them. just like with iraq. i think that's a legitimate i think that's a legitimate accusation sofi to the extent that it puts pressure on the u.s. intelligence community to do something that's hard to do which is to present the if you will the secret facts or the story i don't even know frankly the secret story because i don't have a reason i need to know that as a retired cia officer however if they do present the facts there's a risk of of compromising what we call sources and our methods which would of course not not be good so the question is how much evidence should be provided to the american people i'm personally and i stress this is my personal view an advocate of declassifying as much information as possible and presenting it to the american people and to present it to the russian government i think we really need to initiate a process that we negotiate an end to this kind of aggressive cyber hacking and
interference in our one another's domestic affairs if president putin believes the u.s. is interfering in russian domestic affairs or internal affairs it's not a good approach to interfere in our affairs in order to get us to stop doing it so i think it's in the interest of both sides of sit down and and talk this over and try to avoid a repetition of what happened in two thousand and sixteen in the future. ok let's take a short break right now and when we're back we'll continue talking to cia veteran ralph larson discovered a spy agencies position and it's today small tensional states and.
what politicians do you should look to. put themselves on the line. to get accepted or rejected. so when you want to be president. or some want to be rich. but you're going to be crushed that's what before three of the more people that are interested always in the waters in the. same wrong roles just don't call. me that you get to
shape out. becomes active. and engaged equals betrayal. when so many find themselves worlds apart we choose to look for common ground. now we're back with say a bachelor a role for what larson former top cia official had led to a decade better and also agency talking about the spy bureau's role in today's united states internal and external policy.