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Tag: The Assault on Intelligence

General Michael V. Hayden: The Assault on Intelligence

Being completely honest, most of this talk went over my head. I tried to take notes as I was trying to take notes as I was listening, but they were speaking very quickly, and I couldn’t really comprehend what they were saying. This is my attempt at notes:

  • First off, this talk has started out very political, which is not what I was expecting. They are barely talking about security of surveillance or anything like that, which is what I was expecting. I’m not a very political person and I’ve never been interested in political issues in America, so a lot of this stuff just kind of flew over my head. As of now, it’s been 25 minutes, and they’ve mostly been talking about politics. It seems like they don’t like Trump.
  • Hamiltonian, Jeffersonian, Wilsonian, Jacksonian. Says Trump is Jeffersonian.
  • Why did x happen in America? x= Al-qaeda, rise of Isis, etc. A mixture of instability between people in America, and a drifting of political culture. Grievance to post-truth drift. Social Media is like a Dorito. A Dorito looks like a tortilla chip, but instead it just delivers salt and fat. Social media seems good, but the more you use it, the more you get pulled into your own self-identity.
  • 3 principles in internationalist view: immigration is good for America’s economy, trade is good for America’s economy, and alliances are good. Isn’t that kind of obvious?
  • If the president decides that the national security of the US needs a nuclear attack, how does that happen?
    • It has to bounce between a few groups/people.
    • Hayden is concerned about miscalculation.
    • This man definitely doesn’t like Trump.
  • They talked a bit about what is going on today on Capitol Hill with Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford and all that business.
  • Drew a relationship between the William Jennings Bryant and the presidential race today. Bryant didn’t want to adapt to the times and go along with industrialization. It was a bit unclear what he said about how it relates today.
  • The audience is probably 85% adults, 12% law students who were either interested or had to come to this, and then there are a few undergrads here. I was definitely not prepared for this. I think most of the people here know this stuff well enough to know what is being talked about, so I definitely don’t fit in here very well.






“The Assault on Intelligence”

General Michael Hayden, the former NSA and CIA director for the United States, was interviewed by Professor Jon Meacham and Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos. Questions regarding national security and the current direction of the U.S. were proposed to Gen. Hayden.

To kick off the interview, Meacham proposed the question, “Does political partisanship and national security have a relationship?” This is when I realized that the debate was entirely a critique of Donald Trump’s presidency. I was hoping to gain more insight into some actual non-biased perceptions of national security and their current relationship with the public. Nonetheless, I did find his answer to this question to be interesting. Gen. Hayden likes to classify political figures into groups such as the Hamiltons, Jacksonians, Wilsonians, or Jeffersonians. This allows him to align current political figures with a person that best represents them from history. For instance, according to him, Trump is a Jacksonian; he is not fully for isolation, but most of Trump’s policy reflects separation from other nations. Later, he also states that Trump is trying to execute industrial policy in a post-industrial era. He contrasts Trump’s Jacksonian characteristics with Obama’s Jeffersonian views of nation-building. Whether his portrayal of these two figures is accurate or not, I do like the concept of pairing iconic historical figures with those of the present. It allows me to create a frame of reference for current politics and connect them to the past and see how they worked then and can be translated to the present.

Another interesting point Gen. Hayden made was that the three most important aspects that make the United States what it is are: immigration, trade, and alliances. He then states that since Donald Trump has taken office each one of these areas has seen a sharp decline and citizens will eventually see the effects of their decline. I do not claim to be a master of foreign or domestic policy. I do not even claim to be extremely knowledgeable in the subject. However, after doing some base-level research, such as viewing graphs and reading some statistics, I could not find any solid grounds to which this claim could be absolutely true. Trade, for instance, had a slight increase in the trade deficit. However, in the grand scheme of things, it was really not anything critical based on current and past trends. Also, with the current state of employment in the United States, I believe that this increase makes sense. This was very rushed research though, and to make a more sound counter, I would need to do far more research.

I am sure General Hayden is able to provide wonderful insight into the surveillance versus privacy debate, however, this interview missed that mark. While it may have been his intention to focus only on President Trump, I feel like there was much more to be said on the topic of “The Assault on Intelligence.”

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