Former CIA Director Michael Hayden thinks Russian government officials are probably “high-fiving one another” over their success influencing the 2016 election and other actions that have led to chaos in the American political system.
Hayden, who previously served as the director of the NSA and CIA during the Bush administration, also spoke to The Cipher Brief about Trump’s sharing of sensitive information on the ISIS terror group with Russian officials that had reportedly been given to the US by Israeli spies.
“It’s a hard and fast rule within the intelligence profession that you do not pass information onto a third party without the permission of the original source of the information,” Hayden said. The source of the information Trump passed to Russian officials was apparently from Israel, which reportedly warned months ago that it shouldn’t be shared with the White House over fears it could be leaked to Iran.
“Of course it will have a negative impact. It’s the third party rule,” Hayden told The Cipher Brief of potential consequences of such a disclosure. “The word is now out that the president disregarded the third party rule and so you’re going to have a lot of countries hesitating to share information with us. Now can I measure that? No. Can we get over that over the long-term? Probably. But there’s a reason there’s a third party rule. And there are consequences when you decide to disregard it.”
After White House spokespeople attempted to deny such a disclosure, Trump seemed to confirm on Twitter that he had indeed shared information with the Russians in order to work together in the fight against ISIS. But the blowback from reporting on the story, and new revelations of Trump allegedly trying to squash an FBI direction have clearly taken its toll.
“What [Russia has] done is to create chaos inside the American political system with little cost to themselves,” Hayden said.
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