Former Obama top spook is among the Dems backing Haley

Former CIA director Michael Morell is backing Nikki Haley’s improbable Republican primary challenge to be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.

But Morell is far more than your everyday spook, as noted by independent reporters Lee Fang and Jack Poulson. The man who served twice as acting director of the CIA under former President Barack Obama “spearheaded” the infamous 2020 letter from more than 50 intelligence officials attempting to discredit reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop by claiming the story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

“Federal Election Commission records show that Morell, the former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who served in senior intelligence roles under President Barack Obama and George W. Bush, gave the former South Carolina governor $1,000 in November,” Fang and Poulson reported.

What’s more, Morell was upfront about his motivations — more from the reporters:

Last year, the House Judiciary Committee released a report showing that Morell played a central role in interfacing with the Biden campaign to gather signatures for the intelligence official “disinformation campaign” letter. In closed testimony, Morell confirmed his intention in organizing the letter was to help the Biden campaign. The investigation also showed that Morell had written an email to John Brennan, another former CIA chief, in which he noted that the Hunter Biden letter was designed to “give the [Biden] campaign, particularly during the debate,” a “talking point to push back on [President] Trump on this issue.”

 

Morell formally endorsed Hillary Clinton in August 2016, but did not respond to a request from Fang and Poulson about whether he planned to follow suit with Haley.

Citing FEC records, the duo said the results “suggest many high-ranking former intelligence and national security officials are backing Haley.”

The former governor of South Carolina is being pushed as the moderate alternative to Donald Trump, being the final holdout in the GOP primary — on that note, a “12 fellas down. 1 to go” tweet from Haley this week famously backfired on her.

That effort is drawing key support from Democrats. Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent Democrat donor, donated $250,000 to a pro-Haley super PAC, the SFA Fund, according to CNN.

Hoffman, who has said he’ll “enthusiastically vote” for President Biden in November, sees Haley as “the first of just two opportunities to stop Donald Trump from winning the White House again,” the network reported.

After saying in a LinkedIn post that his “first priority is American democracy and the integrity of our legal system,” Hoffman added, “That means my first priority is to defeat Trump, and the primary is the first of two chances to do so.”

Here’s a sampling of the fallout over the story, as seen on X:

Tom Tillison

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