J Burkett

Austin, TX 5 hours ago

A man devoid of integrity ~ and intelligence ~ questions the integrity of America’s dedicated intelligence officers. He undermines not only them and their work, he undermines America itself. He even undermines his year-long promise to make America great again, for, in only a matter of weeks, he has made it a laughing stock.


Florida 5 hours ago

This is a president who would fit well inside a LeCarre novel.

He has spent the last several years promoting conspiracy theories like the birther nonsense and the DC pizza story.

He hires Steve Bannon, who ran Breitbart, an on-line purveyor of conspiracy-laden ultra right wing stories, to be his closest advisor.

Roger Stone, his long time political advisor, has for decades spread fake stories and bullied media.

His adviser KellyAnne Conway seems untethered from reality, spreading lies as “alternative facts.”

He appoints climate change deniers (not just people who don’t believe man causes it–these are people who deny it is even occurring) to run the EPA.

He removes economists from his economic council and generals from his military council–people who might actually have facts.

And most recently, he spreads a story that Obama wire tapped him, when he could pick up a phone and find out from DOJ if it is true or not. He apparently has no desire to find out the truth.

I can go on and on.

Trump is clearly a man who believes there is no objective truth–the winner is the person who controls and spreads the message. The intelligence community tries to separate fact from fiction and often operates in shades of gray, but just as importantly knows how to leak information to influence events. it is pretty easy to see why Trump sees that as a threat.

Alan Cole

Portland, OR 5 hours ago

A thoughtful letter from Michael Hayden, and much appreciated. Some might read it as a death knell to the Trump admin, even with its measured prose and its balanced calls for restraint and professionalism. And, yet, something tells me Trump and Co won’t go quietly into the night — it’s going to be a long fight, and, worse, what comes next might be pretty rough too.

Alexander Bain

Los Angeles 6 hours ago

Trump and Bannon’s goal is to turn our intelligence agencies into propaganda agencies. Instead of finding the truth as best they can, the CIA, FBI, etc. will be expected to impose the government’s “truth” upon everyone else. From Trump and Bannon’s point of view, undermining intelligence gathering is not a bug; it’s a feature.

If you’re an intelligence professional and want to get ahead in this administration, it should be pretty easy: just brush up on your propaganda skills and suck up to those in power. If instead you’re working to defend the United States, you’re going to have some difficult decisions to make.

Larry Eisenberg

is a trusted commenter New York City 7 hours ago

Our POTUS cannot handle facts
With real data cannot relax,
Cherry picks from the air
That which never was there,
Facts, his feeble mentality tax!

Reality does Donald haunt,
He loves an “alternative” jaunt,
A strong bottom feeder

And hardly a reader,
An idiot but not savant.


Boston 4 hours ago

We are witnessing the death of expertise and objectivity in government. Trump wants to staff every institution of government with his own cronies. There are a lot of bad words to describe this. Trump needs to be confronted in an overall way–not piecemeal, policy by policy. I continue to pray that he will be impeached as unfit and extremely dangerous to our democracy.


Oly, WA 5 hours ago

For Trump, there is no objective truth. The key of narcissism is that it is always self-referential.

James Wayman

Cleveland 5 hours ago

Anyone and anything that Trump cannot use for his personal benefit or bend to his will is subject to public degradation. Not even our most prized institutions, including those comprising our intelligence community, are exempt from his wrath. The man doesn’t care what purpose they actually serve. He only cares that they serve his purpose.

NYT Pick

Jacques Triplett

Cannes, France2 hours ago

There is a clear and present danger threatening our democracy. Trump’s baseless accusation of an Obama ordered wiretap is a repugnant smear of an honorable President. Even more distasteful, however, is how many Republicans are more than willing – disturbingly – to close ranks and support this newest lie by refusing to have open investigations into this unprecedented, defamatory, probably illegal assertion by one who is easily the least qualified person ever to serve the office of the Presidency. Far too many Russian connections on view within this Administration – think, for example, Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions – which pose repeated, unsettling questions demand truthful answers. This defiant, “live with it” attitude cannot be left unchecked and allowed to slide. Otherwise, the developing autocracy, not unlike a tumor, will continue to grow and menace our democratic health as a nation.


is a trusted commenter Boston4 hours ago

Republicans in Congress have begun undermining the intelligence communities. Instead of taking the contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton to task after Ed Snowden’s treasonous act, they were waging political wars against Mrs Clinton with Benghazi and email server. Incidentally, the email server was never hacked.

So the Republicans are the enabler if not co-conspirator of the current POTUS’s outrageous behavior. Regardless of one’s opinion of Wikileak, Julian Assange is not someone you can do business with. Instead, the then presidential candidate has encouraged a foreign entity to meddle with domestic politics.

Right now, the only way to lessen the Mr Trump’s undermining intelligence gathering is to get Steve Bannon out of his role. With him in charge of White House, he is likely to continue to encourage the president to exercise this sort of outrageous stunts from time to time, at the expense of the security of the nation

Paul Leighty

Seatte, WA.4 hours ago

Il Trumpolini’s war on the Intel community coupled with Sec. Tillerson’s wholesale decimation of the senior forgien service officers at State, take on a sinister cast when viewed as part of this administrations ties to the Russians.

Both institutions are one’s that Putin would love to see diminished or suppressed. Quisling, or Manchurian Candidate? A person would normally laugh at any such notion but now I”m not so sure.

The only sure thing now is to resist.

soxared, 04-07-13

Crete, Illinois5 hours ago

The problem with this president and the intelligence community, Mr. Hayden, is that this president is a complete, unadulterated amateur. He comes from a background in which sophistication of thought, nuance, intelligence, preparation, knowledge and service are foreign concepts. No president knows what’s going on in other countries without the Daily Brief, which, as you write, are “unworthy of his daily attention.”

For a man who bragged that he would “make America great again,” this president seems hell-bent on shoving the country down a slippery course in which it cannot gauge the direction that other countries, friends or foes alike, are acting or interacting in concert with American ideals. Trump explicitly trusts no one–and this closed-minded approach to intelligence briefings–or anything else–is a danger to America that cannot be understated.

The intelligence communities in America have never had clean hands (Mossadegh in 1953, Lumumba in 1962, e.g.) but they have always served, or have attempted to serve, often dangerously and without thanks, their country. Donald Trump has scant understanding of America and its place in the maelstrom of international relations because he’s an unread, poorly-educated boor with little use for anything making money and satisfying his sexual appetites.

We saw, in 2011, how a chief executive’s indifference to intelligence warnings resulted in a foreign breach of security that even now reverberates to our daily cost.

Trump is a fool.


Geneva, Switzerland4 hours ago

Making everything a matter of partisan politics is the favourite tactic of this failing so-called President.

Tom Murray

Dublin5 hours ago

The problem is that this administration sees itself more as a court, where the king speaks and the courtiers rush to make it so. The fact that the administration seek facts to support their actions rather than base their action on facts is horrifying and shows their true trade-off with the alt-right. If Bannon et al will work to feed Trump’s narcissism by portraying this as “the greatest presidency, period”, then they can slip in their favoured nationalistic policies in the background. Actually benefitting Americans is very low on the list of priorities.

The Intelligence services, as a non-partisan player in the game, are exposed to huge pressures in this scenario as lies do not fit in easily with their culture. We can expect huge pressure to be put on them by the administration. We just have to hope they have the strength to resist and see their job as carrying out their duty to the country, not to the administration

Anne-Marie Hislop

is a trusted commenter Chicago3 hours ago

If Trump & Co continue to attempt to use the intelligence agencies as tools for their agenda and continue to denigrate and dismiss the agencies when they do not like their intelligence, good people will begin to walk away. In Trump, the nation elected an thin-skinner narcissist who will lash out at the slightest hint of criticism, who has stated that his best adviser is his own brain, and who has a very, very hard time forgetting a slight. This is not a man who wants to hear the unvarnished truth unless it will also energetically polish his ego.

Christine McM

is a trusted commenter Massachusetts4 hours ago

I don’t need to watch my favorite TV series “Homeland” any more, because there’s a real live one unfolding every day. Of all the wild and wacky things occurring in the Trump Administration, this contempt for the Intelligence Community is truly the most disturbing.

Why would the President so malign the very people he must depend on to navigate our very dangerous world? To my mind, he has two choices: maintain a good hands-off relationship and degree of respect, or trash the IC daily.

That he’s chosen the latter makes me very nervous. If Trump claims he and his administration are totally innocent when it comes to Russia, why on earth are they acting as if they’re not? Trump’s behavior is more than erratic–it seems designed to hide something.

Making an enemy of your IC communities is hardly the way to deflect attention from your potentially past and current behavior vis a vis Russia. The outrageous smear on President Obama is not going to win you any Brownie points either.

But I cited the above quote from Michael Hayden because of the administration’s disturbing pattern of assertions followed by a forced order to have the IC provide a rationale for them. This was the genesis for “Flynn Facts”- say something wild, then order your IC to produce the data to back it up.

Trump is setting himself, and the country, on a very dangerous path. The last people he needs to alienate are the long-time public servants who can help, not hinder, his foreign policy goals.


Midwest2 hours ago

I picture the intelligence community as experieced at multidimensional chess. This is something, I bet, that DT can’t even grapple with. So, faced with such complexity, this bully responds emotionally. He just explodes – rather than having to reason through complexity. Laziness? An aging brain? Lunacy? All three?

But the USA is going to pay a very high price for one man’s character flaws, lack of curiosity an tendency to denigrate whatever challenges him.

I worry about the future of this nation. I worry about the dangers within – due to such a divided electorate, divided Congress, Lunatic in the White House. And I worry about how easily other nations could exploit our divisions and the fanatical megalomaniac who is busy destroying what saner leaders built.

Mr. Hayden’s voice and experience are sorely needed at this moment. I hope he keeps his heath and his strength of character. And that we do too.


Oly, WA4 hours ago

For a CEO in a family company, he is the king, never had to deal with shareholders, a corporate board, all of those inconvenient issues of the management level. It just doesn’t work well in a democracy, but he can’t see that, Narcissus always gazes in the mirror.


columbia, md 6 hours ago

I’m afraid that this administration has no interest for playing by the old rules, the ones that generally have worked. I think most of Americans have always – rightfully and necessarily – viewed all intelligence gathering agencies witrh more than a little skepticism. That said, one the whole we appreciate the efforts, sacrifices, and unenviable decisions made about which we’d rather not know.

That is the majority of us. But I am seeing signs that there is a sizable number of people supporting the administration’s efforts to subvert all of what we know as the republican principles upon which this country was founded and flourished. Donald Trump and the nefarious core are intent upon dismantling the America we recognize. Eliminating the effectiveness of the intelligence community appears to be a significant target for Bannon and crew. These people do not like America at all. Not as we know it.


is a trusted commenter Cheboyagen, MI 3 hours ago

Most of the people I know who voted for Trump wanted change. What they are getting is chaos. Why is it that this administration is both de-funding the State Department and marginalizing the intelligence gathering community? I am sure that both of these entities could stand reforms, but that is not what is happening here. Why is this administration proceeding in this way? May God help this country if Trump succeeds.


Virginia 2 hours ago

It’s much more than the intelligence community that is being stripped of legitimacy, rather virtually all branches of government that provide our security as well as a check and balance to insure that power cannot be concentrated.

While we are getting bogged down in twitter minutia, with the help of conservative cowards on the right, a cadre of sociopaths are colluding to take over the country. These are power addicts. They’ll never get enough.

Robin Hood was a myth. The ‘repeal and replace’ ploy is real. They are taking from the poor, the aged and the sick, and giving to the rich. Federal agencies are being stripped of budget and purpose so their funds can be redistributed to trump support in the military, which he may try to remake as his private militia. And defense contractors who align with his politics will become members of the Billionaires Club, maybe even sit at his table in FL when he decides where to bomb next.

There’s nothing subtle here. Through his stupidity and massive inferiority complex he has shined a bright light on the worst among us, with hypocritical religious fundamentalists and blindly ambitious republicans holding torches leading the mob.


is a trusted commenter New York 1 hour ago

At this point any intelligence or intelligent person would refuse to take a job involving close contact with someone possessing as capricious a disposition as Trump. He careens between sounding reasonable and acting like a two year old in need of a nap. He is endangering the country with what he’s tweeting, stating about intelligence, about Obama, etc. Trump has, in the space of less than two months, proven that he is not fit to govern and should be removed before he precipitates a major war.


chattanooga 6 hours ago

It will be interesting — and probably terrifying — to see how Trump deals with the intelligence community long-term. He clearly cannot tolerate independent thought that runs counter to his fantasies. Will he pack these agencies with political enforcers and sycophants to impose his will? In addition to further undermining the quality of intelligence, will America get its very own Stasi?

Kathryn Meyer

Carolina Shores, NC 1 hour ago

I hope the line of experienced people calling out the President on his attacks on the various branches and departments of our government grows ever longer. This is our only hope in stemming the bleeding of our democracy by this administration.


Seattle 1 hour ago

This president resents the word “intelligence” because it’s one of the many things he is obviously lacking. He and the congress have changed the meaning of “political” into a scheme of forcing people to believe things that are not true. Sadly, most people who fought and died for this country would very disappointed with how their sacrifice is being used.

Steve Bolger

New York City 1 hour ago

There isn’t even a common core of ethics left in the US anymore.


Seattle 1 hour ago

This president resents the word “intelligence” because it’s one of the many things he is obviously lacking. He and the congress have changed the meaning of “political” into a scheme of forcing people to believe things that are not true. Sadly, most people who fought and died for this country would very disappointed with how their sacrifice is being used.

Robert Jennings

Lithuania/Ireland 5 hours ago

“Starting with a policy and then asking intelligence professionals to provide the rationale is a corruption of a healthy process”

This is precisely what happened in the preparation for the attack on Iraq – and it worked. So maybe less holier-than-thou from the Intelligence Agency side.
To the eye of an outsider it seems that much of the leaking is part of a barely disguised putsch against an elected American President.
To my eye, it seems that Trumps unwillingness to play the “Putin is the worst possible enemy” game has incensed many who have a personal stake in that game. In other words they need a job.

Graham Ashton

massachussetts 1 hour ago

Sir, your comment that the Trumpites are taking part in the ‘corruption of a healthy process’ clearly defines their efforts since beginning their campaign for office.

Remember him saying that Mexico ‘was sending’ their worst at the outset of his campaign. Personalizing hatred and blaming others is his corrosive metier.

You are correct in asking intelligence professionals to push back hard against the Trump administration whether Trump likes it or not.

Independent intelligence agencies are as essential for the maintenance of a free democracy – as an independent judiciary and congress.

Keep leading us with your example.

Of the people, for the people and by the people.


is a trusted commenter California 51 minutes ago

Trump has to attack the credibility of the Intelligence agencies for two reasons:

1. It gives him plausible deniability for saying he did not believe their reports on Russian intermeddling in the election campaign. This is necessary because the timing of when did Trump and/or his campaign know that Russia was hacking establishes the possibility of quid pro quo or, at a minimum, tacit collusion.

2. It gives Trump the opportunity to ignore intelligence when it doesn’t support his policies.

The “Deep State” or “Administrative State” is manipulative adolescent fantasy parading as political thought. It is justification for ignoring those who disagree on Constitutional grounds, like Sally Yates.