Ex-CIA Director Woolsey: 'The Administration Cannot Keep Its Mouth Shut' on War Effort

By Susan Jones | July 18, 2016 | 6:10am EDT
Defense Secretary Ash Carter listens as President Barack Obama makes a statement on Afghanistan from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 6, 2016. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - "Military operations require secrecy," former CIA Director James Woolsey told Fox News in a recent interview. He criticized the Obama administration for telling the world -- and Islamic jihadists -- what it plans to do.

"The administration cannot keep its mouth shut on these things," Woolsey said on Friday. "Had they been in power during World War II, they probably would have made speeches about how well we were doing breaking the Japanese codes. I have no idea why they do this sort of thing, unless they care more about the public relations than they do about winning the war.

"And that is a very serious charge indeed. I'm not making it here, but it is certainly something that you have to start thinking about, when you see everything getting disclosed.

"Military operations require secrecy now. After the fact, they're supposed to be -- you ought to be able to learn what happened, but during the lead-up and the execution of something, they ought to keep their mouth shut in the White House."

Speaking to ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry talked about President Obama's intention to "accelerate" the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria by sending in more U.S. troops.

"And the president has been directly, personally engaged," Kerry said. "We've had meetings at the Treasury Department, at the Defense Department, at the State Department regularly assessing how we upgrade what we're doing, intensify our efforts.

"And from military to the diplomatic engagement, to various intelligence efforts, we are significantly growing our capacity. And that's what we will be doing this week when we host 45 nations. Defense ministers and foreign ministers will be gathering in Washington to not only assess where we are, but to lay down plans for how we shut these guys down forever," Kerry said.

The Obama administration says recent terror attacks in France and Turkey are a sign of its success in the anti-ISIS fight. They say the terrorists are lashing out as their dream of a caliphate recedes.

Making a surprise to Iraq last week, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the deployment of an addtional 560 American troops to Iraq to advise and assist Iraqi Security Forces.

"The primary mission of these additional forces will be establish a base of operations at Qayyarah west from which to support the envelopment and eventual collapse of ISIL control over Mosul," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told reporters on Thursday.

On Sunday, Muqtada al-Sadr, an Iraqi Shiite cleric, said the additional 560 U.S. troops heading to Iraq would be a "target" for his supporters, the Associated Press reported.

Woolsey, who served as Bill Clinton's CIA director from 1993-95,  told Fox News it's best to keep war plans quiet until the goal has been achieved:

"Well, Churchill once said that, in war, truth is so important, it must always be protected by a bodyguard of lies. And Sun Tzu would have said the same thing, the granddaddy strategist of them all, which is deceive, deceive, deceive if you want to win.

"Now, if you care more about the public relations than about winning, you will tell everybody what you`re going to do, and it will be very straightforward and they will say, oh, isn`t that interesting, and then go on to something else.

"But the people who really matter, the commanders and so forth on the other side, will say, 'Ah, thank you very much for telling me what you're going to do.'"

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