CIA Director: Russia Is an Adversary, But 'We Need to Find Ways to Cooperate'

By Susan Jones | September 12, 2016 | 8:20am EDT
CIA Director John Brennan (AP File Photo)

( - "Should we think of Russia as an adversary?" John Dickerson, host of CBS's "Face the Nation," asked CIA Director John Brennan on Sunday.

"I think, in certain areas, they are adversaries, yes. But I think, also, in areas, we need to find ways to cooperate with them, because they do also have a vested interest in trying to bring stability and trying to dismantle these terrorist organizations."

Brennan described Russian President Vladimir Putin as "very aggressive, very assertive," whose KGB intelligence background "gives him a certain perspective."

"And so he's somebody that we need to, I think, be very wary of in terms of his ability to manipulate environments for Russia's advantage."

Most of the Sunday talk shows examined Donald Trump's comment on Thursday at NBC's Commander-in-Chief Forum, when Matt Lauer asked Trump about his praise for Putin's leadership.

"Well, he does have an 82 percent approval rating, according to the different pollsters, who, by the way, some of them are based right here," Trump said of Putin.

Trump said "it's possible" he could get along with Putin.

"If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him. I've already said, he is really very much of a leader. I mean, you can say, 'Oh, isn't that a terrible thing' -- the man has very strong control over a country.

"Now, it's a very different system, and I don't happen to like the system. But certainly, in that system, he's been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader."

Democrat Hillary Clinton said Trump "prefers the Russian president to our American president. It is scary. It is dangerous," she said.

But former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said President Obama, not Trump, has "empowered" Putin. "Donald Trump wants to negotiate with him and push him back into a position in which we can deal with him effectively," Giuliani told ABC's "This Week."

The Obama administration also continues to negotiate with Russia.

As the Associated Press reported on Monday, a cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia is set to begin at sunset on Monday in Syria.

The cease-fire deal, hammered out between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Saturday, allows the Syrian government to continue to strike at the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked militants with the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham group, earlier known as the Nusra Front, until the U.S. and Russia take over the task in one week's time.

Under the terms of the agreement, the rebels and the Syrian government are supposed to stop attacking each another.

One of the more immediate goals of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement is to allow the U.N. to establish aid corridors into Aleppo, the besieged northern Syrian city where several thousand civilians have been killed in recent fighting.

Several previous negotiated cease-fires have all eventually collapsed. A partial "cessation of hostilities" that brought sorely needed relief to civilians in March unraveled as the government continued to strike targets in opposition areas, including near a hospital and school near Damascus and a marketplace in Idlib province, killing dozens of civilians.

(The Associated Press contributed the information about the U.S.-Russian brokered cease-fire in Syria.)


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