Former CIA/NSA Chief Michael Hayden Endorses Gina Haspel: 'Wonderful Choice' to Lead CIA

By Susan Jones | May 7, 2018 | 5:48am EDT
Gen. Michael Hayden formerly directed both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. (Photo: Screen grab/CBS)

( - President Trump on Monday touted his "highly respected nominee for CIA Director, Gina Haspel," noting that she's come under fire "because she was too tough on Terrorists."

"Think of that, in these very dangerous times, we have the most qualified person, a woman, who Democrats want OUT because she is too tough on terror. Win Gina!" Trump tweeted.

Haspel's nomination is a rare area of agreement for Trump and a former high-ranking intelligence official.


Michael Hayden, who formerly directed both the National Security Agency and then the Central Intelligence Agency, is no fan of President Donald Trump, and that's partly why he endorses Haspel as the next CIA director.

"Why I want Gina in there now is based upon the conversation you and I just had, all right?" Hayden told CBS's "Face the Nation" with Margaret Brennan. "With a president who does not always attach his decisions to the real world, to data, to evidence, Gina Haspel is the one woman I want in that room when everyone else will be going into north-south auto-bob and saying, 'You're right, boss.' Gina Haspel won't. She'll be dedicated --"

"She's not a yes person?" Brennan interrupted.

"Absolutely not," Hayden responded. "Her -- look, her only existence as a professional has been within the agency. Her only goal is to live out the agency's mission, which, frankly, is to tell the truth to the president, even though most often that makes the president's life less comfortable than it would otherwise be."

"She is a wonderful choice," Hayden added.

Gina Haspel's confirmation hearing is scheduled for this Wednesday, and it promises to be contentious.

She is expected to get questions about her supervision of a CIA black site in Thailand where the U.S. carried out "enhanced interrogation techniques," or torture, as critics view it. Acting on her supervisor's order, Haspel destroyed videotapes of the interrogations, and that has now come back to haunt her.

Hayden said there was no "legal prohibition" against the destruction of the videotapes, even if it went "against guidance."

"I mean, we can re-litigate the past of CIA. We've done that before," Hayden said. 'But if you want to do that, then it should be directors and attorney generals and members of Congress and presidents."

Hayden is promoting his new book, titled, "The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies."

He told Brennan that the United States under President Donald Trump has moved into a "post-truth world," and he criticized Trump for ignoring data and evidence: "He comes at you with attempting to delegitimize those who would disagree with him.

"So it's the fake news, the lying media, intelligence with quotes in it, political hacks in terms of John Brennan and Jim Clapper. That's the essence of post-truthism. You don't take the matter on based upon an argument as to what reality is. In fact, reality doesn't matter very much. You just discredit those who disagree with you."

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