Ex-CIA chief sought $10m-contract targeting Gülen

Former CIA chief James Woolsey sought $10 million to help discredit U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen and bring him to justice in Turkey.

The proposal, made by Woolsey and his wife Nancye Miller when Woolsey was an adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, was pitched to a Turkish businessman at a meeting in California in August 2016, Reuters reported citing three people with knowledge of the matter. That was a month after an attempted military coup that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blames on Gülen and his followers.

Woolsey and Miller drew up a plan to “draw attention to the cleric’s possible role in the coup attempt” and encourage an official investigation, according to an e-mailed memo seen by Reuters. Woolsey had a second meeting with Sezgin Baran Korkmaz and another businessman, Ekim Alptekin, in September last year, eight days after Woolsey officially joined the Trump campaign, Reuters said.

The Sept. 20 meeting was “unremarkable” and Miller could not recall the emailed memo, nor track it down, Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for Woolsey and Miller, told Reuters.

Alptekin had agreed to a separate $600,000 contract to discredit Gülen with the consulting firm of Michael Flynn, who was also an adviser to Trump during the election campaign and later worked as his national security adviser before being sacked.

The Flynn deal is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller following allegations that the Trump campaign was allied with Russians seeking to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election.

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