Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan said intelligence officials were well aware of strains within Turkey and sizable opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but he wouldn’t say whether they foresaw an attempted coup last week.
Mr. Brennan, speaking Tuesday evening to an audience at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, described the setting U.S. officials were in Friday night when the attempted coup was unfolding.
“The first thing you do when you have a situation like that is you try to ascertain the facts, and a lot of time…it’s very very difficult because a lot of information is coming in and it is hard to distinguish between rumors,” he said.
He was interviewed at the event by Jennifer Sims, a former State Department official and intelligence expert.
She then asked “Did we see it coming?”
“There have been a number of developments in the Turkey political scene over the last several years with now-President Erdogan…consolidating power and authority,” Mr. Brennan said. “It also sits astride a very unsettled area and with the challenges that the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and Kurdish terrorists present to Turkey.”
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