Two former directors of the CIA on Wednesday criticized the chaotic roll-out of President Trump’s controversial travel ban, arguing that poor organization within the administration had led to a policy that will do more harm than good.
“When I saw the reaction to the EO, my thought was, ‘this is the action of an administration that doesn’t yet know how hard government is,” John McLaughlin, a 30-year veteran of the CIA who served as acting director under George W. Bush, told the House Armed Services Committee.
Asked whether he believed that president’s controversial order would damage U.S security by giving ammunition to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) ideology that the West is at war with Islam, both McLaughlin and former CIA director Gen. David Patraeus warned that the policy could have unintended consequences.
“It’s always worth testing any policy by asking whether it will take more bad guys off the streets than it creates, and I think this is one where if he had done the kind of staffing that perhaps might have been done, that would have been identified earlier on,” Patraeus said.
“You always have to ask what are the secondary and tertiary consequences of what you’re about to do,” McLaughlin said.
The executive order, signed Friday, was marred by a chaotic roll-out across the country and has faced fierce criticism from both the left and the right as a sloppily-conceived policy.
The order imposes a 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
It also freezes all refugee admissions to the U.S. for 120 days and stops the flow of Syrian refugees indefinitely.