On Friday evening, two former CIA officials shared some of their sage wisdom on CNN about the good old days when they were involved with foreign coups.
At least one of them even expressed dismay at the failure of the coup in Turkey and seemed to be genuinely disappointed when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn't get overthrown. This, of course, is keeping in mind that Erdogan was democratically elected to the position.
Here are some highlights of the discussions with CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Who is he? Robert Baer, a veteran CIA officer and author who worked against Hezbollah in Beirut in the 1980s
He said what? "I have been involved in coups before. They should have taken CNN Turk and closed it down the first minutes, the radio station, social media, the internet. Even if they didn't arrest Erdogan, they should have taken care of all of that right at the beginning."
"I've been speculating with Turkish officers a couple months ago about a coup and they said, 'Absolutely not.' And clearly they're not involved, so there's limited support for this."
"If the Turkish army, these elements, want to got to war with the people, it would mean civil war. And right now, it doesn't look like it, but you know tomorrow is another day. And certainly people in the Turkish military aren't certain—or the government."
He said what? "With coups, as with military operations, the plans never survive the first part of the operation. You have to be flexible enough to change your tactics as you're going through. And it doesn't sound like these coup plotters had that kind of flexibility."
"I think there's one thing—this is not a happy situation and things may turn very sour—but there is one positive aspect at least, that I'd be willing to share. Turkey is a prosperous and progressive place with its workforce. We need [Turkey] and we need to work with it and we need to have it work with us."
The CIA is known to have played a hand in foreign coups, in Iran and during the Cold War, for example, and speculations of the CIA's fingerprints in Turkey arose on Saturday.
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