George W. Bush’s former director of the NSA and the CIA likened Fox News’ Sean Hannity to a Soviet-era apparatchik over the weekend.
Brookings Institute senior fellow Benjamin Wittes shared a scathing statement by Michael Hayden on Sunday in response to Mr. Hannity’s support for WikiLeaks. The Fox host has cheered the group’s release of stolen documents belonging to Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. U.S. intelligence agencies have blamed Russian state actors for the theft.
“Fox News has almost entirely jumped the shark,” Mr. Hayden wrote. “They have given up any semblance of conservatism and focused on an almost visceral hatred of all things Clinton and Obama.”
The former CIA head said that some exceptions to the rule include Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier.
“Hannity has entered the pantheon of a true propagandist,” Mr. Hayden continued. And his behavior reminds me of a conversation I had with a political office in the mid-1980s when I was an air attaché to Bulgaria. I asked this officer what truth was to him. He responded without hesitation, ‘Truth is what serves the party.’ And there you have it.”
Mr. Hayden’s statement came less than one day after Mr. Hannity tweeted, “In 10 yrs @wikileaks has gotten nothing wrong & no one’s been killed bc of the info released. #freejulianassange #freeinternet for all.”
Mr. Wittes responded to feedback on Twitter by saying he has no problem with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly or with the network in general.
“@seanhannity endorsed an ongoing intel op against the us,” he tweeted Sunday.
WikiLeaks has released over 25,000 of Mr. Podesta’s documents. The group’s founder, Julian Assange, has said 50,000 are likely to be leaked before the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.