CNN anchor Anderson Cooper interviewed a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency with insight into current CIA Director Mike Pompeo's meeting with former NSA employee William Binney.
"The director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo was sent to a meeting two weeks ago, a meeting that the president wanted him to have with a conspiracy theorist claiming the DNC hack may have been an inside job," Cooper explained. "As you probably know by now the intelligence community has concluded it was Russian hackers who broke into the DNC systems and leaked Democratic Party e-mails. The president remains unconvinced and now CNN has confirmed President Trump he sent his CIA Director to meet with this former NSA employee with an alternative theory."
For insight, Cooper turned to CNN national security analyst Michael Hayden, a retired four-star general in the Air Force who served as director of the NSA and CIA.
"I understand why, at the end of the day, Director Pompeo did this, but, Anderson, I've got to believe that Mike Pompeo, this was the last thing that he wanted to do because it put him in such a compromising position with his own workforce," Hayden explained.
"I think the real actor in this isn't Director Pompeo, it's President Trump, who directed him to go do this -- and the act of meeting gave some throw weight to this conspiracy theory that it really, really didn't deserve," Hayden noted.
"And I know in my heart that Director Pompeo knew that his workforce would not look upon this in any happy way," the former director promised.
Cooper noted that Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, would be expected to attend such a meeting when ordered by the White House.
"Let me return to the prime actor here. This was done for political purposes by the president," Hayden replied. "I think he was trying to create some sort of political top cover, and frankly Anderson, the real story here is the president was indifferent with regard to what this would mean for Director Pompeo's relationship with the workforce."
"The overall health of the American intelligence community is being used in this, frankly, very political way," Hayden worried. "This was a wackadoodle conspiracy theory over here."
"Anderson, you know, the president hasn't been launching the star fleet out there to get to the bottom of this Russian thing, Hayden noted. "This was a one-off, and the workforce is going to view it as a one-off, for again, its own political top cover."
"Whether it's this or urging the DOJ to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, do you think the president understands or necessarily cares about maintaining the impartiality, the independence, of an agency like the CIA or, you know, the FBI?" Cooper inquired.
"You know, the CIA, the Bureau, the American intelligence community lives or dies based upon its impartiality," Hayden replied. "And just very quickly, Anderson, when you accuse your predecessor of wiretapping Trump Tower, you're saying that the American intelligence community allowed itself to be used for political purposes by a political actor in the United States"
"Now that's untrue, but President Trump appeared to be indifferent to the collateral damage to the intelligence community that that unfounded charge would create," Hayden concluded.