Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA) director Michael Hayden did his best in 2016 to elect Hillary Clinton. Worse, Hayden made the inflammatory and frightening claim on CNN at the time that Donald Trump was a “clear and present danger” to the country.
Given his background, those words carried weight and contributed to the climate of fear and division that burdens our democracy today, including within the intelligence agencies.
Hayden also signed a letter last August urging Americans to vote against Donald Trump. Anything Hayden says about politics today must therefore be interpreted in that context. He is hardly a disinterested observer, and clearly resents the fact that the American people ignored his unsolicited advice.
Now, Hayden tells the Business Insider that Breitbart News has an “illegitimate worldview.” He was apparently objecting to Breitbart News’ story last week documenting mainstream media reports that the Obama administration had conducted surveillance at Trump Tower and of people connected to the Trump campaign, and that it had disseminated the products of that surveillance.
Hayden admitted that he had not examined those media reports themselves. Nevertheless, he attacked Breitbart, Drudge and others:
The retired four-star Air Force general said too that “there’s an amazing consistency” on numerous subjects between the information disseminated by Russian media outlets and that of conservative American sources like the Drudge Report, radio and television host Sean Hannity, and Breitbart.
“You have a Breitbart News story essentially launching the Starfleet of the federal government about one of the most horrible political scandals in American history, if true,” Hayden said, adding that it was “very troubling” the president seeming to value Breitbart reports over data compiled by intelligence agencies.
“Breitbart doesn’t do any creative journalism — it just moves the parts around,” Hayden continued. “And I haven’t done this personally, but I’ve heard others say, when you dig into the Breitbart sources, the articles don’t really say that.”
“They have a worldview, and they are playing with it,” he said. “I think it’s an illegitimate worldview, and I think it’s a non-fact-based worldview. It’s a worldview in which preexisting visions seem to be being used to distort the fact pattern that exists.”
The proper address for Hayden’s complaints is the mainstream media, and possibly the Obama administration. Regardless, the views he considers “illegitimate” are enjoyed by the 45 million unique visitors who read our website every month.
The fact that Hayden and other disgruntled members of the Washington establishment still refuse to acknowledge the basic validity of a different perspective outside the Beltway and the mainstream media is precisely why Trump won in November.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.