WASHINGTON -- The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency has said that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump may be an "unwitting agent" of the Kremlin and urged U.S. voters to support his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The remarks by Michael Morell, who worked for three decades at the U.S. spy agency, were the latest in a series of dramatic shifts in the increasingly raucous campaign for the White House.
In an opinion piece published August 5 in The New York Times, Morell said he had voted for both Republican and Democratic candidates during his 33 years with the CIA. He also vouched heavily for Clinton, who served as secretary of state.
But Morell's harshest words were for Trump, saying his business ties to Russia and sympathies for President Vladimir Putin added evidence that he shouldn't be president.
"In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation," Morell wrote.
The Trump campaign pushed back strongly against Morell's criticism, accusing him of involvement in the public response following the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.