Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who initially opposed a Trump presidency, along with other top GOP National Security officials, said Sunday he was pleased with President-elect Donald Trump’s pick of Mike Pompeo to lead the CIA.
“I actually am aware that the broader intelligence community was heartened by that pick,” Hayden said in an interview with Martha Raddatz on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
Hayden, like others Republicans in the national security community, had not been supportive of Trump’s candidacy.
When asked whether he thought Pompeo had enough experience, Hayden said he believes Pompeo has as much experience as Leon Panetta did.
“I think Leon did a wonderful job and he’s highly regarded at the agency,” Hayden said of Panetta, who served under President Barack Obama. “The people who know him from the House intelligence committee have always said he was serious. He studied the issues. He was worth talking to.”
Hayden was also asked about Pompeo defending the CIA’s detention and interrogation techniques following 9/11. Throughout his campaign, Trump has said harsher interrogations tactics such as waterboarding should be brought back.
Pompeo has said that techniques were in line with the law and Constitution.
Hayden defended Pompeo’s remarks, saying it was “done within the law, done by people who did it reluctantly, not out of enthusiasm and it produced good intelligence for America.”
However, Hayden said that we should “begin with actually detaining people under the laws of armed conflict” before moving on to different tactics if that does not work out.
“So the first step, I would say, is let’s start to do that and let’s question them,” Hayden said. “And then if the current lawfully authorized techniques are insufficient, let’s have a conversation about them at that time.”