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Mike Hayden

Mike Hayden

Gen. Michael Hayden is a former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency. He can be reached at

Articles by Mike Hayden

Ernest Moniz (AP Photo)

MICHAEL HAYDEN: State Department tweet on Iran nuclear deal misleading

It's not often that I'm the subject of tweets from the State Department, but late last week spokeswoman Marie Harf tweeted that "Former @CIA Director Mike Hayden says he's 'heartened' by details of Iran deal; 'no good alternatives' to diplomacy." Well, not exactly. Published April 6, 2015

In this photo provided by Egypt's state news agency MENA, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, right, talks with Saudi King Salman after the king arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Saturday, March 28, 2015. El-Sissi later made the remarks at the opening session of an Arab summit held in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. (AP Photo/MENA) (AP Photo/MENA)

MICHAEL HAYDEN: Ignoring religious roots of terrorism risks victory

Not long ago I testified before the House Homeland Security Committee on what the Committee called "Islamist terror." The Committee, unlike the Administration, chose to align that adjective (Islamist) with that noun (terror) in defining a global problem. Published March 31, 2015

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former CIA director. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez, File)

MICHAEL HAYDEN: A ‘reasonable’ view of privacy, security

I recently debated Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano on the National Security Agency's 215 program, the massive metadata trove of American calling records used to quickly detect if suspected terrorists have contacted anyone inside this country. Published March 18, 2015


MICHAEL HAYDEN: Farewell to Mark Mansfield, a ‘happy warrior,’ CIA spokesman

Mark Mansfield died last week. I doubt that many readers of the news, even intelligence devotees, knew about Mark. Writers of the news, however, — especially intelligence beat reporters — knew him well. He was, in a phrase he once dubbed the ultimate oxymoron, "the CIA spokesman" and — in one way or another — served the public affairs needs of nine CIA directors. Published January 28, 2015

Last week in Geneva, Tom Malinowski, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, told the U.N. Committee Against Torture: "A little more than 10 years ago, our government was employing interrogation methods that, as President Obama has said, any fair-minded person would believe were torture."  (AP Photo/U.S. State Department)

MICHAEL HAYDEN: State Department gives U.N. panel tools for CIA’s fall

In September 2009, a Polish newspaper headline screamed, "Stabbed in the Back." The occasion was the United States announcing the cancellation of a plan to install ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland — an effort the Poles had undertaken in good faith on American advice and at some risk, now canceled without consultations and announced with incredible insensitivity on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland. Published November 17, 2014

In this June 9, 2013, file photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, File)

MICHAEL HAYDEN: The downside of ‘immaculate’ data collection

Not long ago Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper bared a bit of his soul before a friendly audience of intelligence professionals and contractors. Mr. Clapper said he was facing a demand for exquisite intelligence that he had to collect without risk, without embarrassment and without threat to anyone's privacy or commercial bottom line. Published November 12, 2014

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former CIA director. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez, File)

HAYDEN: Obama moves to put boots on the ground in Iraq

Pretty historic moment: A president personally committed to, and heretofore politically rewarded for, ending wars and reducing American involvement abroad gets his own "My fellow Americans" moment. Published September 10, 2014

Retired Major General Antonio Taguba (Associated Press)

HAYDEN: Democrats ‘shaping’ attack on CIA interrogation program

It goes by a variety of names: Shaping; Intelligence Preparation of the Battle Space (IPB); Operational Preparation of the Environment (OPE). These are the first steps in any campaign and they are designed to maximize the chances of success before the campaign even begins — or at least before everyone recognizes that it has begun. Published August 25, 2014

This March 11, 2014, file photo shows CIA Director John O. Brennan speaking in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

HAYDEN: ‘Security fatigue’ on the rise as public feels safer

For folks like me, a highlight of summer is the annual Security Forum put on the by the Aspen Institute. This year was no exception as current and former officials, academics, journalists and policy wonks of various types gathered for three days of panels, interviews and countless sidebar conversations. Published August 7, 2014

** FILE ** Pro-Russian rebels, right, followed by members of the OSCE mission, walk by plane wreckage as they arrive for a media briefing at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. A team of Malaysian investigators visited the site along with members of the OSCE mission for the first time since last week's crash. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia

Speaking last week on the South Lawn of the White House about the actions of Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists around the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, President Obama leveled the question: "What exactly are they trying to hide?" Published July 25, 2014

This undated photo provided by the Historical Archives Sarajevo shows Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip. On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip fired the shots that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, during a visit to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo in 1914. (AP Photo/Historical Archives Sarajevo)

HAYDEN: Sarajevo, black swans and today

During a recent walk down Piccadilly in central London, I was struck by two things: that there still exist massive bookstores with paper books and, based on the books prominently displayed in those stores, that this summer marks the centenary of the start of WWI. Published June 25, 2014


HAYDEN: Questions NBC can ask of Edward Snowden that still puzzle me

NBC News will air Wednesday an hourlong special with anchor Brian Williams in Russia interviewing former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. I'm not exactly enthused by the prospect, but I am hoping that Mr. Williams asks some tough questions. Published May 27, 2014