Retired NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden Tuesday gave Israel's intelligence service for obtaining a trove of documents and digital records detailing Iran's continued nuclear activities, but said the news was "old news" and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had aimed his presentation about the matter Monday straight at President Donald Trump.
"We created a national intelligence estimate in 2007 that actually said that the Iranians had stopped the weaponization part of their program," Hayden, now employed as a national security analyst for CNN, told "New Day" co-host Chris Cuomo.
"[It said] the missiles were still going on, the centrifuge is still spinning, but the actual building of the weapon, they had stopped in 2003. I'm fond of saying we based that not on absence of evidence but on evidence of absence."
The report at that time noted that there was "some dual use stuff, some research went on," said Hayden. "They were hedging their bets. They wanted to keep their options open, but we went in and told President [George W.] Bush and Vice President [Dick] Cheney and that was a heavy lift."
Iran is still "bad folks," and is "still heading in a bad direction, but our intelligence estimate now is they've stopped this particular activity," said Hayden.
The Israeli revelations though, does give "more detail to the plotline that we all knew," Hayden said, but he still believes "this is old news."
"All due respect to the prime minister, we have certain labels and caveats we give to some sources, some sources who report good information," said Hayden. "We also have to point out, so that you understand the motivation of the source, we believed his remarks were designed to influence as well as to inform, and I think that might apply to what the prime minister said yesterday."
Cuomo said that Netanyahu put on a "big theatrical show in English," and Hayden said he had a "certain audience in mind.
"The only person who responded aggressively to the idea that this is new and must be acted upon is the president of the United States," said Cuomo.
"Yeah," Hayden agreed. "There a little subplot last night in the White House...they put out a short press release where they said Iran has a robust clandestine program."
The release was changed, from has to had, Hayden noted, but "people like me went 'woah.'"
Meanwhile, Cuomo noted that "everybody believes" Israel has its own nuclear capabilities, and Hayden said he won't be the first to try to go out to confirm that.
"I will admit that the general international consensus is that they do," said Hayden. "All those chemical weapons that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad has been using and all that, that chemical weapons program was really extensive and our judgment was always that they had their own weapons of mass destruction, because they believed that the Israelis had theirs."
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