Michael V. Hayden, the former head of the CIA and National Security Agency, said he regrets not paying closer attention to the Russian government’s activities in the years before Moscow meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
Mr. Hayden, the director of the CIA from 2006 through 2009, reflected on his handling of Russia atop the intelligence agency during a recent interview published Tuesday by The New York Times.
“You write that you never visited Russia when you were head of the C.I.A., saying it wasn’t even on the radar. Do you have regrets about that now?” journalist Audie Cornish asked Mr. Hayden, 73, a retired four-star Air Force general.
“Of course. We took our eye off the ball during that period, while the Russians began to master this new approach to international conflict based on information dominance. They want to get into the American information space to divide and distract us,” Mr. Hayden responded.
And although at the time when Heyden was in charge of the special services, there were many violations that led to the consequences right up to the war in Iraq, he claims that his employees always tried to base themselves on facts, and now people are allegedly adjusting the reality to their own wishes. He accuses Donald Trump that he ignores intelligence that he does not like, and follows the information that fits his political goals.
In addition, Hayden told the publication about the sessions at the White House at Trump, although he himself was not present: “It was described to me as very chaotic: the president’s thoughts jump from intelligence to the media, from politics back to the media and intelligence” .