Michael Hayden urged the American people to have faith in the US intelligence community
The former CIA chief warned against a "partisan" reading of the intelligence community's findings
Michael Hayden, a former head of the CIA and National Security Agency, said Saturday that the newly-released intelligence report describing Russia’s efforts to undermine the US election was “a brick short of a load.”
The report, released Friday, outlines how Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed to hurt Hillary Clinton and help President-elect Donald Trump by using by “an influence campaign” which included hacking Democratic groups and figures.
CNN’s Michael Smerconish – who expressed frustration that the presented evidence was heavily classified – told Hayden the report left him “wanting more.” Hayden said he “had the same sense of disappointment,” though he “probably had a little more understanding as to why it was a brick short of a load.”
However, Hayden insisted, “an awful lot of the things we know can’t be shared, because we need to keep going back to this well in the future, Michael, to learn things to keep America safe.”
Hayden also urged the American people to have faith in the US intelligence community, even if the details weren’t clear.
“When you’ve got the community coming together and giving ‘high confidence’ judgments to these things … I certainly have confidence that that’s a true story that was put out there, even though I haven’t been able to see the fine print,” he said.
Hayden warned against a partisan reading of the report in light of Trump’s attempts to downplay Russia’s role in the election, including calling the investigation a “political witch hunt.”
“The criticism of the intelligence community’s judgments on this issue has been that the community is incompetent and politicized and prejudiced and that’s simply not right,” Hayden said.
The intelligence community, Hayden insisted, should be “above the partisan divide.”
“What we’ve seen since the election has been putting the intelligence community right smack in the middle of the middle lane of a hyperpartisan atmosphere here in Washington,” he said. “Michael, intelligence can’t survive in that lane. It will die.”