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.”

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Newsweek

Newsweek4 min readSociety
Journalist's Fearless Investigation of Mexico Massacre
Journalist Anabel Hernández has been investigating collusion between government officials and drug cartels, as well as the illicit drug trade and abuse of power, for Mexico’s biggest publications for more than two decades.
Newsweek3 min readSociety
Jill Soloway Reflects on 'Transparent' in New Memoir
In "She Wants It," Soloway tells the story of the hit Amazon show—from the beginning to its messy end.
Newsweek5 min readSociety
HBO's 'The Sentence' Reveals Broken Justice System
Through one woman's story, the HBO documentary shows the ramifications of a Reagan-era policy Jeff Sessions hopes to continue