Michael Hayden has achieved the type of career anyone in the intelligence community would be envious of calling their own. The former CIA and National Security Agency Director has helped guide the U.S. Intelligence community, and now he’s standing up for his fellow intelligence officers.
Hayden appeared on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday where he was asked to talk about the recent op-ed from retired Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
McRaven, in the op-ed, spoke up in support of former CIA Director John Brennan, calling him a “man of unparalleled integrity.” In the piece, McRaven said it would be “an honor” to be among the list of people who have their clearance pulled by Donald Trump.
Hayden was asked by Jake Tapper if he would also consider it an honor to have his national security clearance pulled. “Well, to be included in that group? Sure,” Hayden responded.
“And frankly, if his not revoking my clearance gave the impression that I somehow moved my commentary in a direction more acceptable to the White House, I would find that very disappointing and frankly unacceptable.”
Hayden is an honored member of the intelligence community, having served as NSA director under President George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He would later serve as CIA director under both Bush and President Barack Obama.
“John’s situation is a proximate cause for all of us signing letters and protesting,” he added. “I think it’s kind of one additional straw that’s breaking the camel’s back. Our complaint is not just about this. It’s about the whole tone, tenor, and behavior of the administration.”
Hayden’s comments arrive less than one week after President Trump said he was considering the removal of national security clearances for numerous members of the intelligence community. The President has yet to act on many of the names included on his list but even the mere suggestion has drawn the ire of the U.S. intelligence community and numerous lawmakers.