Ex-CIA chief Woolsey quits Trump transition team

Washington, Jan 6 (IANS) Former CIA Director James Woolsey has left the Donald Trump presidential transition team, days after he publicly disputed the President-elect’s views on Russia’s role in the 2016 election, the media reported.

“Effective immediately, Ambassador Woolsey is no longer a senior adviser to President-elect Trump or the Transition. He wishes the President-elect and his administration great success in their time in office,” NBC News quoted Woolsey spokesman Jonathan Franks as saying on Thursday.

Woolsey, who was Central Intelligence Agency Director under President Bill Clinton, had served as a senior adviser to Trump on national security and intelligence.

Woolsey said that he put out the statement to clear up a possible misconception that he was more heavily involved in the transition process, or that he was still giving advice to the President-elect, says the report.

“I didn’t want to fly under false colours,” Woolsey said. “I’m not really functioning as an adviser anymore, and so when I’m on the screen, everybody announces that I’m former CIA director and that I’m a Trump adviser. And I’m really not anymore.”

“..So I just thought I should strike that from the (TV banner) … so nobody was under false impressions,” he said.

The resignation comes as Trump has been in a war of words with US intelligence agencies over assessments that the Russian government was likely involved in a covert campaign to attempt to interfere in the US election. However, Woolsey said that the move had nothing to do with his comments on Russia.

Woolsey, in an interview, had also criticised WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whom Trump had invoked on Twitter to defend his scepticism of US intelligence assessments of Russian meddling in the election.

A source close to Woolsey told NBC News that the former CIA chief felt increasingly uncomfortable with the Trump transition’s decision-making on matters of intelligence, particularly amid a report that the incoming administration is considering restructuring certain intelligence agencies.

But that report has been batted down as “100 percent false” by a transition spokesman.

–IANS

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