Newsweek

Former CIA Directors Slam Trump’s Conspiracy Theories

The president's attacks on the U.S. intelligence community have cast CIA and FBI leaders into the unprecedented role of public “truth tellers.”
Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Michael Hayden, who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, is interviewed for the documentary, "The Spymasters," about CIA Directors for CBS/Showtime.
PER_Spytalk_01_596293833 Source: David Hume Kennerly/Getty

A few months into the Trump administration, former CIA Director Michael Hayden took a reconnaissance mission of sorts to Pittsburgh, where he grew up in a blue-collar, Roman Catholic family and worked summers in Steelers training camps. He’d asked his brother to gather a couple dozen people to talk politics in a sports bar “over some Iron City beer,” a local brew.

“I knew many of the participants, indeed had grown up with several,” Hayden writes in his troubling and important new book, The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age. “But we could have been from different planets.” Virtually everyone in the crowd, he recalls, were supporters of the erratic New York business mogul who had improbably won election and moved into the White House a few months earlier. “He is an American,” they would say. “He is genuine.... He is authentic.... He doesn’t filter everything or parse every word.”

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