iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Retired four-star Gen. Michael Hayden, who served mostly under former President George W. Bush as director of the National Security Agency and then of the CIA, has doubts about whether the president-elect’s top aide, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, will succeed at the job.
“By and large, he has been successful on the tactical, operational level,” Hayden, who was sharply critical of Trump during the campaign, told ABC’s Martha Raddatz on This Week.
But the national security adviser is a different kind of role, he argued.
“This is a strategic, global job, so I think he will be stretched a bit,” Hayden said, adding that a Hayden said the national security adviser needs to be a “process guy” to ensure “all elements of the government have a voice” on the national security and foreign policy challenges the president faces.
Flynn, who has nearly 30 years of military experience, was a major surrogate and adviser on national security issues to Trump during the campaign, frequently appearing at rallies and on news programs.
But he has been viewed in some circles as a controversial pick for the president’s top adviser on national security, in part because of his hard line on Islam. Flynn once called the religion “a cancer” and said “fear of Muslims is rational.”
Trump has also picked Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas, as his nominee for CIA director, a choice Hayden praised.
“I was actually heartened by that pick,” Hayden said. “The people who know him from the House Intelligence Committee have always said he was serious. He studied the issues. He was worth talking to.”
Hayden was among 50 former national security officials who in August signed a letter denouncing Trump and saying that his election as president would put the country’s national security at risk.
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