Jump to content

Ret. General Michael Hayden On The Hugh Hewitt Show


Recommended Posts

Hugh Hewitt Show

Hugh Hewitt
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

General Michael Hayden was previously not only an air force general but also director of the NSA and the CIA. His riveting new memoir, Playing To The Edge: American Intelligence In The Age of Terror, takes you as far inside those agencies as possible for a non-classified book to reach. He joined me on today’s program:

Audio Part 1

Audio Part 2

HH: But I want to ask you at the beginning about the Apple controversy, and full disclosures, one of my law partners, former Judge Stephen Larson, is representing the families of the victims in the San Bernardino massacre, pro bono, to try and get Apple to unlock that phone. What’s your opinion of that?

MH: So complicated issue, and frankly, Hugh, this kind of issue permeates my book. It’s all gray.

HH: Yup.

MH: You know, not forces of light, forces of darkness. Tough questions for good people to respond. So here’s my approach. The broad Apple approach, which absolutely opposes the FBI’s command to put back doors universally into encryption, I agree with. I actually think America is a safer place, not just a more private place. That’s a separate argument. America is a safer place with unbreakable end to end encryption. And so I support Tim Cook there, and I opposed Jim Comey. I don’t know that this issue is that, Hugh. This looks like a one-off specific operational requirement against a unique device for a limited purpose and a limited time. And so my view on this is on this particular case, I side with the FBI. And if Tim Cook disagrees with me, the burden of proof is on him to prove that this is inevitably going to lead to that. And that’s where I am. And I’ve got to admit, Hugh, I’m sitting here in Manhattan, and the U.S. Attorney here, Mr. Vance, is saying to Apple, and as soon as you’re done with that one telephone in California, I’ve got 175 in a room back here. That, I think undercuts Director Comey’s argument about this being a one-off. But right now, I’m shading in the direction of the Bureau for this phone, for this purpose.


HH: Okay, and among those choices that are out there, are all of them fluent to the extent that you want them to be in matters of intelligence gathering?

MH: Oh, my, no. And in fact, one of the disappointments in the campaign, maybe a little more on the Republican side just because of the dynamics, Hugh, and I know you’ve witnessed this, than on the Democratic side, but it’s not great on either side of the ball. The discussions here are of complex issues, again, back to the theme of the book. This is all hard. This is all shades of gray. When it’s pushed down to the level of bumper stickers, that is something that’s not in the service of the American state or of American security, and we really have pushed this down to bumper stickers, in most cases.


HH: Don’t you think there are some people who are getting called into offices when they read Playing To The Edge and being asked why we didn’t know that at the time?

MH: Well, I certainly hope so, because that means we kept the secret. And what you’re referring to, Hugh, is the first chapter of the book…

HH: Yup.

MH: …when NSA went belly up. Its IT system collapsed for about three and a half days.

HH: That’s so spooky.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Intelligence for Democracies
Review: Michael Hayden, ‘Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror’
Jack Caravelli
April 3, 2016

According to Michael Hayden, the only man ever to hold both the posts of CIA and NSA director, 9/11 was a seismic event for the U.S. intelligence community, and its effects still reverberate today. Hayden begins this excellent and very personal narrative by describing in the run-up to the attacks how the NSA, like the CIA, had suffered major budget and personnel cuts through the 1990s triggered by belief in a “peace dividend” that had accrued from the breakup of the Soviet Union.


Hayden’s approach to managing these problems ought to serve as a case study in how to revitalize a dispirited organization. In the memoir, Hayden demonstrates that he is willing to acknowledge his own mistakes, while respecting and touting the contributions of senior and junior colleagues. That combination does much to advance the book’s credibility, setting it apart from similar efforts by other government officials who seem intent on settling scores.

Hayden also shows willingness to wade into complex policy issues, notably the debate over the pace and scope of Iran’s nuclear program. He sheds considerable light onto the interaction between policy views and intelligence products, providing those outside the process keen insight into what CIA could and could not do to assist policymakers.

For all these lengthy and sometimes complex discussions, Hayden never loses sight of the critical question of how intelligence agencies fit into and support democratic values, beginning with the right to privacy. Hayden does not presume to have complete answers, even years into his retirement from government service.

Those seeking soaring prose should look elsewhere....................................(Snip)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • 1701283373
  • Create New...