The former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell, told a PBS “Charlie Rose” audience the reason America doesn’t try to take out certain oil wells in the Mideast – specifically, the ones that help fuel and finance ISIS – is because the White House is afraid of causing collateral environmental damage.
“We didn’t go after oil wells, actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls, because we didn’t want to do environmental damage and we didn’t want to destroy that infrastructure,” he said, the Hill reported.
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He acknowledged that he does not “sit in the room anymore” on strategies dealing with ISIS, but said he’s aware that the environmental impact of bombing oil wells was of concern to the administration.
“There seemed to have been a judgment that, look, we don’t want to destroy these oil tankers because that’s infrastructure that’s going to be necessary to support the people when ISIS isn’t there anymore, and it’s going to create environmental damage,” he said, the Hill reported.
Instead, the United States has concentrated, particularly since the Paris attacks, on taking out oil trucks, Morell said.
“So now we’re hitting oil trucks,” he said, the Hill reported. “And maybe you get to the point where you say we also have to hit oil wells. So those are the kind of tough decisions you have to make.”
Morell served as the deputy director of the CIA and then as acting director of the agency on two occasions, between 2011 and 2013.