Appearing on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper this Wednesday, retired 4-star Air Force General and former NSA Director Michael Hayden said that he’s warming to the idea that Julian Assange and the data-dumping site Wikileaks are “acting as an arm for the Russian Federation.”
Hayden’s comments came in response to Tapper’s suggestion that the “timing” of the hacktivist site’s recent release of thousands of documents containing information about the CIA’s spying capabilities was notable, considering past comments by President Trump that attacked the intelligence community.
“Are you at all suspicious of the time of this?” Tapper asked. “President Trump praised Wikileaks a lot in the past — obviously Wikileaks, whether it was their goal or not, they certainly helped the Trump campaign.”
Tapper went on to point out that as Trump repeatedly attack intelligence agencies in the press, soon after “this huge trove of documents” about the CIA and their abilities to spy on people appeared on the scene.
In his response, Hayden was careful to point out that his suggestion was nothing more than “perhaps a potential hypothesis,” adding, “I don’t know that the Russians actually committed [the theft of the CIA documents] … but with regard to the timing — I mean, look, I’m pretty close to the position that Wikileaks is acting as an arm, as an agent of the Russian Federation.”
“Do you have proof of that?” Tapper asked cautiously.
“No,” Hayden replied. “This is my making assumptions based upon what’s happened over the past year, and what Wikileaks has been doing.”
“They claim to be a transparency organization,” he continued. “I wish to hell they would emphasize transparency in some of the world’s autocratic nations rather than one of the world’s greatest democracies.”
Watch the exchange in the video below:
Gen. Michael Hayden: I believe "WikiLeaks is acting as an arm, as an agent, of the Russian federation" https://t.co/J4ttUyYS29
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) March 8, 2017
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