Former CIA Director Michael Hayden went on CNN Thursday to sound the alarm on President Donald Trump’s penchant for spouting falsehoods and the dangers they pose to American security.
Speaking with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Hayden said that he found it very disturbing that Trump reportedly fired former FBI Director James Comey because he refused to back up the president’s claim that former President Barack Obama had illegally wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election.
“It appears right now that the Oval Office is not a welcoming space for the truth,” Hayden said. “One of the sins that Jim Comey is alleged to have committed is that he did not go along with the president’s story about wiretapping Trump Tower in New York. Our job in the intelligence community is to present the truth and we get challenged from time to time when we have to go in there and present the unpleasant truth, the unwelcomed truth.”
Hayden went on to say that Trump’s decision to fire Comey could create a chilling effect where intelligence officials are afraid to give the president accurate information for fear that it will harm their careers.
“That’s our job, and the president needs that,” he said. “I fear he is now creating an atmosphere in which we would have to have unusual bureaucratic courage for folks to go in there, institutions to go in there and tell the president things he just doesn’t want to hear.”
Watch the full interview below.