Tag Archives: Michael Hayden

POTUS declares war on media

It’s been on-going ever since Donald John Trump declared his presidential candidacy in June 2015.

He’s been at war with the media that seek to report the news relevant to his campaign and now, his presidency.

As Steve Schmidt, a longtime Republican Party political activist, has noted: Trump now has all but declared Fox News to be the state’s official news medium. Why is that? Because Trump just relishes the network’s obvious bias in his favor.

Other media outlets? They’re all the “enemy of the American people.” The president, with his alarming and frightening petulance toward the rest of the media, has broken with a couple centuries’ worth of tradition involving presidential relationships with a free press.

Consider, too, the words of a longtime public servant who now works as a “contributor” to CNN. Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden — the former head of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency — laid it on the line.

Hayden fires back at Trump

Hayden wrote this on Twitter: “Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.”

Think not just of what Gen. Hayden said, but also consider that this man would say it. Michael Hayden served with distinction and honor under presidential administrations of both major political parties.

Hayden was responding to this tweet from Trump: “Fox News is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”

I get that Trump gored Hayden’s proverbial ox with that ridiculous message. However, I believe Hayden’s description of Trump’s view of the media is correct. He is conducting an “outrageous assault on truth, a free press” and, yes, on the First Amendment.

This individual, the president of the United States, is a disgrace to the high office he occupies.

Ex-CIA boss trashes Trump, Cruz


No one, as far as I can tell, ever has accused Michael Hayden of being a squishy moderate or liberal.

The retired Air Force general led the Central Intelligence Agency during the George W. Bush presidential administration. He knows foreign policy as well as anyone.

Gen. Hayden thinks very little of the credentials of two of the leading Republicans running for president. Imagine that.

Hayden has ripped Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for differing reasons, but the common thread lies in their misunderstanding of what it takes to conduct foreign policy.

The general was critical of Trump’s pledge to bring back waterboarding as an interrogation technique to use on terror suspects.

Trump said: “Believe me, it works. And you know what? If it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway, for what they’re doing. It works.”

Hayden’s response is that the United States doesn’t use certain techniques on suspects because they “deserve it.” He calls Trump’s view of waterboarding a gross misunderstanding of how and why U.S. employ certain tactics against individuals suspected of doing harm.

And what about Sen. Ted Cruz’s pledge to “carpet bomb” Islamic State targets? Hayden calls it “inhumane” and not in keeping with U.S. principles. Cruz once vowed to see if he could get “sand to glow in the dark.”

These tough-talk pledges from individuals seeking the presidency need to be revealed for what they are: reckless bravado aimed at firing up people’s anger and fear.

Gen. Hayden has been at the center of the very issues that candidates such as Trump and Cruz use as political rally applause lines.



Bush tossed under the bus?

This likely is a minority opinion, but I’ll suggest it anyway: It’s sounding to me as though former President Bush’s inner circle is trying to toss the commander in chief under the bus on this Senate report dealing with how the CIA treated suspected terrorists.

The Senate Intelligence Committee summary report issued by the Democratic members blames the CIA for misleading the president and the public over the “enhanced interrogation techniques” being employed to glean intelligence from terror suspects immediately after 9/11.

The implication is that President Bush was kept in the dark. It’s the CIA’s fault that this went on.

Then here comes former Vice President Cheney and former CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden to say, “Oh, no. The president was made aware of what the CIA was doing.” Cheney talked to Fox News about it; Hayden spoke to MSNBC. They both said the president was kept in the loop during all of it.

Interesting, yes?

I haven’t read the entire summary. I have seen excerpts. Some of it is quite grotesque, detailing how interrogators injected suspects with pureed food through what was described as “rectal feeding.”

Did the president know that was occurring?

This debate will continue likely well past the foreseeable future. It’s the next top story du jour.

If the president was unaware of what the CIA was doing, then the former VP and the ex-CIA boss haven’t done him any favors by blabbing about what he knew and when he knew it.

Might there be some backside-covering going on here? I’m just asking.


You mean the CIA might have fibbed?

The Senate report is out: The CIA reportedly lied to President Bush about how it was using “enhanced interrogation techniques” against suspected terrorists.

And to no one’s surprise — certainly not mine — former CIA director Michael Hayden has fired back. He’s defending his agency’s handling of the interrogation techniques.


My tendency is to believe the Senate, that the CIA was less than truthful. After all, the CIA is a spy agency and its agents are, shall we say, trained to mislead.

The threshold question that will need to answered and then examined for its veracity is whether these techniques — which some call “torture” — produced actionable intelligence that helped the good guys fight the bad guys.

It’s becoming something of a liar’s contest. The CIA and the Bush administration say they did; others say the techniques didn’t provide any information that more normal techniques could have obtained.

The key element is whether torturing the al-Qaeda suspects helped our spooks find Osama bin Laden and whether that information led to the May 2011 SEAL team raid that killed the world’s most wanted terrorist.

The debate has been joined.

Meanwhile, U.S. embassies around the world have been put on heightened alert in case terrorists become so angry at the report that they strike at Americans abroad.

I am one American who does not want to see our forces torture captive combatants. We keep saying we’re above that kind of thing, that we don’t want to reduce our standards to the level of the terrorists we are trying to destroy.

I’m fine with that.

Our intelligence agencies are packed with well-trained professional interrogators who are fully capable of obtaining information through serious questioning and, yes, perhaps some threatening techniques. To inflict actual pain and suffering on those suspects, though, is no better than what they do to captives under their control.

Exceptional nations are able to employ exceptional tactics — even in wartime.