Tags: Michael Hayden | 911 | Intel | Predict | Attacks

Michael Hayden: Pre-9/11 Intel Not 'Sufficient' to Predict Attacks

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Tuesday, 23 Feb 2016 10:37 AM

The intelligence that was coming in before the 9/11 attacks was "good enough" to know that something was going to happen, but did not provide "sufficient insight to see it was coming here," and the attacks were not then-President George W. Bush's fault, his CIA director, Michael Hayden, insisted Tuesday.

"Even if we had the data to be more specific, which we didn't, what's the politically acceptable mechanism that George Bush does," the retired four-star general told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program during an an interview about his memoir, "Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror."

"If he imposes the TSA [Transportation Security Administration] thing on Aug. 15, what's the attitude of the American people? He actually may have caused more harm."

Further, Hayden, in response to claims being made by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, denied that after the attacks, pressure was put on him or others in the intelligence community to back up the decision to invade Iraq, and the intelligence going in was "incorrect."

"I take pains to point out in the book, this is our fault," Hayden said. "This is a clean swing and a miss."

The intelligence was wrong in several ways, he explained.

"Prior to this they had low-balled the Iraqi nuclear program," said Hayden. "After the Gulf War, I and the inspectors went in, they're much further along. I'm going to get my pitch higher now and get it into the strike zone. That's number one."

Also, he said, "Saddam [Hussein] was living the cover story. He was living the fiction. He needed the neighborhood to believe he still had these, and we took the bait that he indeed still had them."

There were also "tradecraft" errors, said Hayden, as the sources were not adequately vetted.

"The real mistake on our part was not in our conclusions or our conclusions being wrong," said Hayden. "We did not point out to our clients, to our readers, what our confidence levels were in our conclusions.

"The conclusions looked like they were on tablets that had just come down from Sinai. All the rest of us knew there were relative levels of confidence that we never concluded to our audience."

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The intelligence that was coming in before the 9/11 attacks was "good enough" to know that something was going to happen, but did not provide sufficient insight to see it was coming here...
Michael Hayden, 911, Intel, Predict, Attacks
367
2016-37-23
Tuesday, 23 Feb 2016 10:37 AM
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