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Former Obama CIA official rips President Trump's 'locker room' description of al-Baghdadi killing — especially bringing home 'body parts'


'You don't want a locker room kind of feel to this'

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell — who served under former President Barack Obama — ripped President Donald Trump's "locker room" description about the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In his address to the media Sunday, Trump said the "world's number one terrorist leader ... died like a dog, he died like a coward." The president added that al-Baghdadi was "scared out of his mind" and blew himself up — along with three children — "after running into a dead-end tunnel whimpering and crying and screaming all the way."

'You don't want a locker room kind of feel to this'

But Morell said during a "Face the Nation" interview that he didn't care for Trump's language.

"You don't want a locker room kind of feel to this," he said. "That was the one thing we worked really hard on after the [Osama] bin Laden raid, is don't make those kind of statements because it does inspire other people."

Reacting specifically to Trump saying that U.S. special forces departed with some of al-Baghdadi's body parts and that "there wasn't much left" of the terrorist leader, Morell said, "It's all right to say that we used DNA matching to figure out that it was him, but to actually talk about body parts and actually bringing them back with us ... so that we have them here with us I think is going too far."

Retired Adm. James Winnefeld — who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Obama — added during the interview that bin Laden's body was treated with "respect."

Winnefield said the fight is about "religious freedom, it's about respect for other religions, and if you look back to the bin Laden raid, as much as we detested that man, and as much harm as he did to our nation, we treated his body with respect that is due under Islam, and this was a little bit tough."

The retired admiral also said he didn't like Trump "piling on" and the "humiliation" the president brought upon al-Baghdadi, as it could send "a signal to some of his followers around the world that could cause them to lash out possibly more harshly in the wake of this."

Obama's CIA deputy scolds Trump for 'locker room feel' of Baghdadi speech


A White House official told Time that Trump's language regarding al-Baghdadi's killing was purposeful and an attempt to actively dismantle the hold he had over his followers.

“He felt it was important to mock this guy," the official told the magazine, adding that Trump wanted to “rub in everybody's face that this guy was killing and ordering rape of thousands of people and at the end of the day blew himself up with his three kids rather than fight."

More from Time:

Roger Cressey, a former senior White House counterterrorism official in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, tells TIME that the 48 minutes of Trump speaking and answering reporters' questions was “uniquely Trump" and “unlike any other president announcement." And even though Trump was clearly drawing on his “flair for the theatrical," Cressey saw a deeper method: “He was trying to do something we've done in the past, which is demonstrate that the leaders of Al Qaeda and ISIS are not courageous and they are not people who should be followed."

These terrorist leaders try to cultivate an image of themselves as courageous and pious. U.S. intelligence officials have tried historically to “debunk that myth with some factual elements," Cressey says, as in when the Obama administration released information about pornographic materials found in Bin Laden's compound.

(H/T: Washington Examiner)

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