Tags: Donald Trump | NSA/Surveillance | Russia | Michael Hayden | CIA | intelligence | community

Hayden: Trump's Relations With CIA 'Gone Beyond Difficult'

MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

By    |   Monday, 12 Dec 2016 02:56 PM

Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden always suspected it would be difficult for President-elect Donald Trump to build a relationship with the intelligence community, but he said Monday it has now "gone beyond difficult" after Trump's pointed criticism of the CIA.

"This is about as dark as I can imagine it to be," the retired general, now a principal with The Chertoff Group, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "In 48 hours, he said the intelligence community on which he will rely is incompetent, politicized, and frankly he didn't have a lot of time for them. That's not a winning formula for him."

Over the weekend, Trump struck out at the CIA after reports surfaced about an assessment from the spy agency Russia was behind hacking into email servers belonging to the Democratic National Committee and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign chief, John Podesta, in order to tilt the election in favor of Trump.

Trump has also said he does not need to participate in daily intelligence briefings,
as they change little, but Hayden disagreed with that opinion, too.

"They aren't the same thing every day," Hayden said. "They are different every day. The world changes. Different topics are highlighted. They are used not just for urgent news and immediate warning, they are used for build up the database that the president will rely on over his time in office."

Also, it is important for the intelligence community to hear from the president every day, said Hayden, so it knows what the leader's concerns are and where he wants them to place their emphasis.

"This is not transmission," Hayden said. "It's an important dialogue. Why would the president want to give that up?

Hayden also discussed reports Rex Tillerson is to be named as secretary of state this week, saying since the Exxon CEO "has the endorsement of Bob Gates, Condi Rice, and Jim Baker," Hayden believes Tillerson will survive the confirmation process.

"I know him only by reputation, which is really quite strong," Hayden said of Tillerson, whose potential nomination is being criticized by several lawmakers over his friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I get the question about the relationship with Putin," said Hayden. "I do believe we can get beyond that it."

With the CIA in the news over the weekend, Hayden said he would advise incoming CIA Director Mike Pompeo to remember all eyes at Langley will be on him during his confirmation hearing, which will be televised.

"They will be paying attention to every word," Hayden said. "His audience during that confirmation hearing may appear to be the senators, but it's not. His most important audience for that conversation for that hearing is his future workforce. And they are looking for clues from him that they will defend him within the administration the way Leon [Panetta] did within his."

Hayden said he is hearing Pompeo will be welcomed, though, as the "agency had a high regard for him as a serious student who worked hard, and studied the issues, and asked good questions, and was genuinely interested in what they did. So, I think they think this is a pretty good choice."

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Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden always suspected it would be difficult for President-elect Donald Trump to build a relationship with the intelligence community, but he said Monday it has now "gone beyond difficult" after Trump's pointed criticism of the CIA.
Michael Hayden, CIA, intelligence, community
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2016-56-12
Monday, 12 Dec 2016 02:56 PM
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