Former CIA and NSA director Gen. (ret.) Michael Hayden..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The classified intelligence information that US President Donald Trump recently leaked to Russia may have come from two countries, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden said on Monday.
Discussing Trump’s Israel visit with CNN against the backdrop of the leak, Hayden said: “The fact of the meeting [with Russia] was problematic,” but the bigger problem was that Trump “divulged someone else’s information... it was not ours in the first place.”
Reportedly, Trump divulged intelligence the US had received regarding an ISIS plot to blow up airliners using explosives concealed in laptop computers.
With dueling reports that the information came from either Israel or Jordan, Hayden noted it had come from “a foreign service or services,” highlighting the possibility that has been much less discussed, that the information was a product of multiple nations.
Such a theory could explain why there are reports of anger about the leak emanating from both Israel and Jordan, though Hayden himself refused to speculate on the names of the specific countries.
Hayden explained this meant that the US would “need to make nice” to whichever country or countries were the source of the information.
That said, he believed the incident could be overcome and managed since “most nations get more from us” than the US receives from them, so “they will swallow and accept the apology.”
While some former Israeli officials, including former Mossad chief Danny Yatom have called for reevaluating intelligence sharing with the Trump administration, current officials have tried to smooth over and downplay the crisis.