Former CIA Director Michael Hayden Thursday said claims that there is a "secret society" within the ranks of the FBI are not consistent with his experience over the years, and he believes that as the investigation tightens against President Donald Trump's administration, the attacks on the FBI will grow.
"[That is] totally inconsistent with my life experience," Hayden, who has also served as NSA director, told CNN "New Day" co-host Chris Cuomo. "These are critical institutions for American liberty and security, the CIA and FBI, and some people on the hill seem to be casually willing to harm and defame them."
He added that as the head of the CIA and NSA, he also was often attacked by Democrats for the agencies' surveillance activities.
"You get that," Hayden said. "We live in a political environment. But I've got to add, I don't remember it being this vile and conspiratorial, even when I was attacked by the Democrats. And I fear what we have is the circle tightens around the administration for this investigation, people reacting in a way that is indifferent to the collateral damage they are creating."
On Tuesday, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, told Fox News' Bret Baier that an informant has told lawmakers a "secret society" existed within the FBI, and that it has clandestine meetings.
However, on Wednesday, Johnson told CNN he did not know what the informant meant about the alleged meetings, reports the Washington Examiner. He further commented that his remarks the day before had been based on text messages sent between FBI agent Peter Strzok and agency attorney Lisa Page, who were accused of being biased against Trump.
"I know Sen. Johnson, and have had good dialogue with him, in and out of government," said Hayden, a CNN national security analyst. "[He is] a serious man ... he knew he had to walk back what he said two days ago. That comment yesterday was much milder than what he had said. I think he is trying to climb back a bit off the ledge that he created for himself."
Hayden pointed out that special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, pulled Strzok out of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He also said the FBI's internal institutions are working to keep the bureau "on the right path.'
However, he does believe that there is reason to take a "real close look" into the matter of some 50,000 text messages, exchanged over a five-month period, between Strzok and Page, who were romantically involved at the time.
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