Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who now serves on the board of the left-wing disinformation group NewsGuard, is “perfectly fine” with misinformation so long as it protects the right people.
Last week, Hayden, who served under President George W. Bush and led the National Security Agency (NSA) during the worst intelligence failure of the 21st century on 9/11, reflected in an interview with New York Magazine on his role in smearing the infamous Hunter Biden laptop as an instrument of Russian interference. Hayden was one of more than 50 former intelligence officials who signed a joint letter in the weeks before the 2020 election claiming the laptop was Kremlin propaganda.
Contents from the computer’s hard drive published by the New York Post revealed then-candidate Joe Biden was lying when he denied ever discussing Hunter’s business with him, “or with anyone else.” In fact, the former vice president had met with Hunter Biden’s business partners and stood to personally profit from his son’s potentially criminal overseas ventures.
“Hayden said he had not maintained much interest in the story,” New York Magazine reported. “‘I’m not following it,’ he said, but he stood by the decision to sign and release a statement about a theory for which there was only circumstantial evidence.”
“I was perfectly fine with that,” Hayden added. “It looked like disinformation. … It would be nice if we didn’t have to do anything or say anything, but the Russians were doing so much.”
Hayden’s interview with New York Magazine is not the first time the ex-CIA chief defended his demonstrably false claim that the Hunter Biden laptop was a Russian interference operation. In October, Hayden’s Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security defended the dishonest characterization that was broadcast to the country as voters went to the polls.
Nearly 15 years after leaving the executive branch, Hayden now serves on the advisory board of NewsGuard, a popular pro-censorship browser extension that’s being deployed in schools to indoctrinate students regarding acceptable news sources. Last month, Hayden declared Republicans the most “dangerous” political force on earth just more than a decade after authorizing drone strikes to gun down violent extremists.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, another signatory of the letter in October 2020, also defended smearing the abandoned computer as Russian disinformation when asked by New York Magazine.
“Clapper was not pleased to be asked about the letter two years after its release,” the magazine wrote.
“What are you trying to get me to say, that I screwed up and I shouldn’t have signed the letter? I’m not going to say that,” Clapper told the paper. “As far as I was concerned, we were waving the yellow flag. At the time, it was fishy to me. It had the characteristics of a Russian disinformation campaign.”
Never mind that claims of Russian disinformation surrounding the laptop were disputed by the FBI, the Department of Justice, then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, and the Department of State all before Election Day.