WaPo | Michael V. Hayden, a principal at the Chertoff Group and visiting professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, was director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 and the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009.
A month ago I wrote here about the importance and challenge of the intelligence community establishing a relationship with President-elect Donald Trump.
That has just gotten more important and more challenging.
In my November op-ed, I asked: “What role will facts and fact-bearers play in the Trump administration? . . . Which of the president-elect’s existing instincts and judgments are open to revision as more data is revealed?”
I had in mind the president-elect’s confidence in his own a priori beliefs and specifically his rejection of the intelligence community’s judgment that Russia had stolen American emails and weaponized their content to corrode faith in our electoral processes.
This creates more than hurt feelings. The intelligence community makes great sacrifices, and CIA directors send people into harm’s way to learn things otherwise unavailable. And directors have seen stars carved on the agency’s memorial wall because of it. If what is gained is not used or wanted or is labeled as suspect or corrupt — by what moral authority does a director put his people at risk?
Then there is the ethic of the intelligence profession, captured by the gospel of John’s dictum in the agency’s headquarters lobby — that the truth will set you free.