Earlier today, distinguished former CIA officer Evan McMullin announced his plans to run for president as an independent candidate, BuzzFeed reported. McMullin is running as a conservative alternative to Donald Trump, and he's well known mostly because of his work in the CIA. What did Evan McMullin do in the CIA? After joining the CIA in 1999, McMullin worked as an operations officer. As an operations officer, McMullin was responsible for collecting human intelligence — defined as information acquired secretly through human sources — who were of interest to the U.S. government and military. According to the CIA, the human intelligence collected by operations officers plays an essential role in "developing and implementing U.S. foreign and national security policy" and in protecting American interests. As stated by his biography and LinkedIn page, McMullin was responsible for managing "clandestine operations related to counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, energy, political stability, and counterintelligence," and volunteered to perform tours of duty in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and South Asia until 2010.
In 2011, McMullin joined Goldman Sachs, where he worked with companies in industries such as technology, energy, and on capital raising projects and mergers and acquisitions. He became a senior advisor on national security issues for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2013. In 2015, McMullin became the chief policy director of the House Republican Conference, a post he resigned from on Monday, the day he's reportedly going to announce his official presidential bid.
McMullin's counterterrorism experience has made him extremely critical of Trump. He countered Trump's anti-Muslim attacks in an Aug. 2 Facebook post:
As Donald Trump continues attacking Muslims and as a former CIA officer, I'd like all Americans to know the truth: American and other Muslims have played a central role in virtually every counterterrorism win we've had since 9/11. They are an indispensable asset in this fight. Attacking them as a group makes America weaker, not stronger.
McMullin has also called Trump "authoritarian" on Twitter, stating that Trump will justify infringing on people's civil liberties under the pretense of keeping law and order.
In a year where Americans have lost faith in the candidates of both major parties, it’s time for a generation of new leadership to step up. It’s never too late to do the right thing, and America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can offer us. I humbly offer myself as a leader who can give millions of disaffected Americans a conservative choice for President.
It is unclear how much of an impact McMullin will have on the presidential race. It is said McMullin has the support from former operatives behind Better For America, a non-profit dedicated to finding an alternative presidential candidate. However, McMullin will have a difficult time gaining support because the deadline for ballot access for independent presidential candidates has passed in more than two dozen states, including Texas and Florida. And when asked about McMullin's candidacy, Nate Hodson, a spokesman for the House Republican conference, told Fox News "The House Republican Conference has zero knowledge of his intentions."