In a speech detailing why the US public should not be voting Trump, President Obama flubbed his facts about Vladimir Putin, who he decided was “the former head of the KGB”. To set the record straight, Putin was never the boss of the Soviet spies.
Standing on a podium over a crowd of Ohioans, Obama delivered his speech, detailing why one should not vote for The Donald. For example, because of his alleged support of Russia’s leadership.
“You’re the party that is tough on foreign policy and opposes Russia, and then you nominate this guy, whose role model is [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB? I’m sorry, what happened?” Obama said.
What happened here is that, President Obama did not get it quite right, because Putin never served as the head of the former Soviet Intelligence Agency. He left the KGB in 1991 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after serving for about 15 years, five of which he spent in Germany.
He did not return to intelligence work until 1998, when he briefly headed the FSB, Russia’s internal security and counterintelligence agency, which was the successor to the KGB.
One person who did head the KGB before becoming a Soviet leader was Yuri Andropov, who took the top spot in 1983. Prior to that he lead the intelligence services for five years.
However, even that piece of Russian history is not completely alien to the US in terms of practices. George H.W. Bush became a Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) in 1976. Twelve years after that, he was elected President, succeeding Ronald Regan.
On Donald Trump’s part, he has never called Putin “a role model”, but has still drawn criticism for repeatedly referring to the Russian president as a man who, unlike the US leadership, is respected and trusted within his own country and beyond.