Former CIA Director James Woosley on Thursday disputed reports that he left President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition team amid tensions with other national security advisers.
Woosley said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that he simply wanted to stop representing Trump when he never was a formal adviser.
“And I didn’t feel comfortable traveling under a false flag. So I just told them to take me off the list of advisers. That’s all.”
“I didn’t really part ways,” he said. “What happened was that I agreed to advise them back in early September at a point where a lot of other people were signing on to the no-Trump letters and so forth, and wasn’t really asked to do anything substantive except to deal with press.”
Woosley, who served as intelligence chief under President Bill Clinton, said he had done hundreds of interviews on behalf of Trump — but had no formal role and did not attend any meetings except for one face-to-face meeting with Trump.
“And I wasn’t an adviser,” he said. “And I didn’t feel comfortable traveling under a false flag. So I just told them to take me off the list of advisers. That’s all.”
Woosley said Trump should be concerned about Russia’s ambitions, but added that he should not ignore threats from nations like Iran and China.
“The South China Sea is a serious problem,” he said. “They are intruding in there and building false islands. I think, though, there’s a reason, and it’s probably to protect sea lines of communication to oil. Because they don’t have much oil, and they need a lot.”
Woosley said developing alternative fuels — such as methanol, from waste — could help solve two geopolitical problems at once. Providing another fuel source would reduce China’s need for a large military presence in the Pacific Ocean, Woosley noted. At the same time, he added, it would trigger a decline in crude oil prices, sapping a vital source of Russia’s revenue.
“Once you have another liquid fuel on the market, then the Chinese don’t have to worry about access to the ocean coming through the South China Sea … And the Russians start worrying a lot because they’ve now got a competitor for the oil that they pump. And the price will go down, and that’s not good for them, but it’s good for you and me.”
Of course, that does not mean concerns over China will simply go away, Woosley said.
“There are some opportunities for us to work with them on things, but we gotta be careful,” he said. “They’re being very, very grabby with respect to the South China Sea. On the other hand, Russia has pretty much always been grabby.”