Former CIA, NSA director Hayden speaks in Montgomery

Former CIA, NSA director Hayden speaks in Montgomery
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Wednesday Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden made a stop in Montgomery. He offered his expertise as the only person to serve as head of the CIA and the National Security Agency.

"Global Security" was the focus of his presentation to members of the Alabama World Affairs Council Troy University's Montgomery Campus.

"I have lived in a more dangerous world. I have never seen the world more complicated and I have never seen it more immediate in terms of something happens here we feel it here," said Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden.

During his presentation to more than 150 members of the Alabama World Affairs Council, he touched on a number of topics including North Korea, Iran, terrorism, the threat posed by the Russians, and the alleged deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria.

"I am out of government. I am not reading cables, but it has the ring of truth. It is consistent with past Syrian behavior. The way and what has been reported suggest yes this is how they do that stuff, chlorine gas, helicopters, barrel bombs, Ghouta the eastern suburbs of Damascus and so on," said Hayden. "I'm kind of believing this is probably exactly what happened. The question becomes what will be the American response."

Hayden did weigh in on the president's response of a missile strike on Syria he posted to Twitter.

"We put things in to Twitter that maybe are not the most deeply thought out thoughts we've ever had. The world pays attention to every word the president says. I think what we get out of this kind of behavior is doubt, uncertainty, nervousness which might lead other people, friends and adversaries, to make decision that both we or they might regret. I would like the President to be far more careful with his language," said Hayden.

In addition to leading the CIA and NSA, Hayden served as the country's first principal deputy director of national intelligence and the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the country. He also served as commander of the Air Intelligence Agency and director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center and served in senior staff positions at the Pentagon, at U.S. European Command, at the National Security Council, and the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria. He was also the deputy chief of staff for the United Nations Command and U.S. Forces in South Korea.

Hayden has been a frequent expert and commentator on major news outlets and in top publications, valued for his expertise on intelligence matters like cyber security, government surveillance, geopolitics, and more. He was featured in the HBO documentary "Manhunt," which looked at espionage through the eyes of the insiders who led the secret war against Osama bin Laden, and in Showtime's "The Spymasters," a detailed look at the directors of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Hayden is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group and a distinguished visiting professor at the George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government. He is on the board of directors of Motorola Solutions and serves on a variety of other boards and consultancies.

In 2013, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) awarded Hayden the 29th annual William Oliver Baker Award. He is also the first recipient of the Helms Award presented by the CIA Officers' Memorial Foundation. In 2014 he was the inaugural Humanitas visiting professor in intelligence studies at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Hayden's recent memoir, "Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror," has been a New York Times best-seller and was selected as one of the 100 most notable books of 2016.

The Alabama World Affairs Council sponsors lectures and programs on current and recent events of national and international interest throughout the year with the aim to increase individuals' knowledge of world affairs and how they impact the United States. The Council also serves as a platform to showcase some of the world-class faculty at Maxwell Air Force Base's Air University. The Council has partnered with Troy University, bringing all Council events to the University's Montgomery Campus.

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