Ex-CIA chief warns of new Cold War with Russia, WMD threat from ISIS

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that his country had developed an array of new strategic nuclear weapons that can't be intercepted by U.S. defenses. The development is a reflection that the U.S. and Russia are "in a conflict," said former CIA deputy director Michael Morell. 

"We are again in a Cold War," Morell, a CBS News national security contributor, told "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor.

"There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that after the invasion of Georgia, the invasion of Ukraine, the intervention in Syria, the meddling in our election, the attack last week by Russian mercenaries on U.S. forces in Syria, that we are again in a Cold War," Morell said. 

Putin said Thursday in a televised address before both houses of the Russian parliament that the country had developed new weapons systems, including a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone and new hypersonic missile. Putin said the weapons were capable of overwhelming any U.S. defenses.

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CBS News

Glor also asked Morell about reports that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is trying to develop a weapon of mass destruction, namely a chemical weapon.

A Homeland Security official said at a conference in Virginia that "the U.S. working on a real world threat related to ISIS in the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] space," according to The Cipher Brief, which covers global security issues. Col. Lonnie Carlson, who heads DHS' counter-WMD office, said the threat is an "export of something happening in the Middle East that is causing us to devote thousands of dollars in very near-term funding."

Morell said it has long been an "ambition" of jihadist groups to "conduct an attack using weapons of mass destruction."

"I think what's most interesting in this case is ISIS has actually developed chemical weapons in their caliphate and they actually used them on the battlefield during the war they fought for three years," Morell said. 

Morell said that while the reporting seems they would want to bring a chemical weapon to the U.S., he has his doubts that is possible since it would "extraordinarily difficult" to transport a weapon into the country. He said he believes it's more likely ISIS would send instructions to people in the U.S. to build it.