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Ex-CIA chief Hayden says WikiLeaks is acting as an agent of the Russian Federation

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden opined about WikiLeaks on "the Lead" with Jake Tapper Wednesday. Image Source: YouTube.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden told Jake Tapper in an interview that it is his belief that WikiLeaks is acting as an agent of the Russian government. He made the charges on CNN Wednesday.

"Are you at all suspicious of the timing of this?" Tapper asked, eliciting laughter from Hayden," President Trump praised WikiLeaks a lot in the past obviously whether it was their goal or not they certainly helped the Trump campaign."

And here we have a situation where President Trump is complaining about intelligence, complaining about leaks, people around him are complaining the so-called "deep state" out to get him. And then, voila, a couple days later this huge trove of documents about the CIA and their ability to spy on people.

"I must confess that the thought occurred to me," Hayden answered, "but I would not suggest it as anything more than potential hypothesis.

But a thing you might want to look into as you go forward. I don't know that the Russians actually committed the theft. This may be what WikiLeaks said it was, an insider. But with regard to the time, look, I'm pretty close to the position that WikiLeaks is acting as an arm, as an agent, of the Russian Federation.

"Do you have proof of that?" Tapper asked, clearly taken back by the accusation.

"No, this is my making assumptions," explained Hayden, "based upon what's happened over the past year and what WikiLeaks has been doing. Look, Jake, they claim to be a 'transparency organization,' I wish the hell they would emphasize transparency in some of the world's autocratic nations, rather than one of the world's great democracies."

Previously in the interview, Tapper had Hayden address the main fear meant to inspired in Americans by the WikiLeaks release, that common citizens would be targeted for surveillance by the intrusive techniques revealed.

"Of course," Tapper began, "there are a lot of civil libertarians out there who think, 'wow, this is a lot of, this reveals a lot of ways that the CIA could spy on anybody. Are you confident that there are enough mechanisms of oversight so that this kind of thing wouldn't be abused?"

"Yeah, I am," Hayden answered confidently.

Look, this is a human enterprise. Humans make mistakes. We're in a vale of tears after original sin. Y'know, bad things can occasionally happen. But, Jake we just spent what, the last 72-96 hours pointing out that the president doesn't have the authority to tap the phone of any American? You gotta go to court.

"That process, that procedure, that culture," he emphasized, "permeates all the American intelligence agencies. So although these tools are very very powerful, I'm comfortable, knowing what I know, living where I've lived, that they're targeted against legitimate foreign intelligence targets."

"The scary part," Hayden concluded, "is that legitimate foreign intelligence targets use the same devices that you and I do."

Hayden has been a critic of Trump in the past, having once said that troops should ignore his orders if they are unlawful according to the international law of armed conflict. He made the comments after Trump made certain promises on the campaign trail. “I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign," said Hayden to Bill Maher.

Hayden also criticized Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, calling it "stupid and dangerous."

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