Retired Gen. Michael Hayden’s endorsement of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) seems to be playing right into the hands of critics who say the potential presidential candidate’s foreign policy will mirror his brother’s, George W. Bush.
Hayden, who served as deputy Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) head under President Bush, is now advising the former president’s brother on foreign policy.
Instead of distancing himself from his brother’s unpopular foreign policy, Gov. Bush seems to be embracing it by hiring a number of former Bush administration officials to advise him on the issue.
Gen. Hayden endorsed Jeb Bush on Monday in an interview with Newsmax.
“I’ve signed on as an adviser to Gov. Bush because he asked me and because he represents what I feel is the right position, which is the Republican internationalist position,” Hayden told Newsmax. “If you’re looking for one sentence as to what a new president should do with regard to foreign policy: Get involved, and stay involved.”
George W. Bush’s foreign policy, namely the invasion of Iraq in 2003, is still considered unpopular.
“When asked about how his views stack up with his brother’s, especially George W. Bush’s still-unpopular decision to invade Iraq, Jeb Bush tends to be vague in his replies, noting that he will address such matters later in the campaign if he runs,” notes U.S. News & World Report.
Gen. Hayden presided over the National Security Agency (NSA), arguably the largest surveillance organization in the world, when Clinton and then Bush missed opportunities to capture or kill bin Laden before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. homeland.
Hayden served as the CIA director when Gov. Bush’s brother failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden in August 2007.
“We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty — which is huge in the world of intelligence — that in August 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south form Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers Seal Team 6 — nearby,” wrote Army Col. David Hunt (Ret.) in an October 2007 Fox News article.
The U.S. military was coordinating with the CIA at the time, according to Col. Hunt.
“Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden,” he added.
Hayden was the NSA director when, President Bush and his predecessor, Clinton, failed to capture or kill bin Laden in 2000 and 2001, before the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. homeland.
The retired general was the NSA chief when President Bush authorized the controversial domestic surveillance program following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Bush reportedly ordered the NSA to intercept communications, without obtaining a court warrant, between individuals inside the U.S., including American citizens and terrorist suspects aboard.
Some critics from both parties have deemed the program illegal, saying it violates civil liberties and privacy rights.
Hayden has also staunchly defended the enhanced interrogation techniques employed on detainees while he was the CIA chief.
Gen. Hayden is not the only official from George W. Bush’s administration on Gov. Bush’s foreign policy team.
Gov. Bush has not officially launched a presidential bid.
Nevertheless, Democrats and other critics are already attacking him for hiring former President Bush officials to advise him on foreign policy including Paul Wolfowitz, a former deputy U.S. defense secretary considered a lead architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which remains unpopular.
Other familiar faces from the Bush administration who are reportedly advising Gov. Bush on foreign policy include former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and former Homeland Security secretaries Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge.
Porter Goss, who preceded Hayden as Bush’s CIA director, is also part of the foreign policy team.
In a statement, the Democratic National Committee said that Gov. Bush hired advisers who “were the architects of George W. Bush’s cowboy foreign policy agenda that damaged the country’s reputation abroad.”
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