Phanstiel Lecture: General Michael Hayden “Cold War Revival?”

Phanstiel Lecture: General Michael Hayden “Cold War Revival?”


(soft music) – Thanks. Thanks, Sean,
that’s overly generous, a line I’ve been using
since I left government when I come out to a place like Syracuse, outside the D.C. area,
and get that kind of gushing kind of introduction, my response is clearly not
given under oath, all right? (laughing) So thanks, yeah. Thanks for the chance to come and chat. For those of you who signed up for the Russian expert here to come and give you a coherent view of both Russia and American
policy towards Russia, that’s next week. I’m not that guy. I’m a career intelligence officer, and I’m here to share with you some thoughts from my perspective about Russia, the Russian Federation, Russian policy, and, frankly, American relations with
the Russian Federation. It won’t quite be stream of consciousness, but you’re not gonna be able to kinda take notes and walk
away with the coherent, “There, I wish I’d have recognized that all along, that’s how it works,” with regard to what’s going
on in Russia, all right? But I do think I can share with you some interesting aspects, not because I have any great
scholarship on my part, but just ’cause I was there sometimes and I could see some
things evolve, all right? So let’s begin. Let me talk a little bit
about focus on Russia, or more accurately, kind of in the terms
of a confessional here, losing a bit of focus on Russia. I was Director of CIA for 31 months, which modestly above
average for tenure there. In those 31 months, I went
to more than 50 countries. Not one of them was named Russia. It just didn’t get to the top of the list. For good or bad, I’m just telling you, it just didn’t get to the top of the list. I had a whole bunch more
people come visit me. More than 50. Because it’s good to be a friend of the Central Intelligence Agency if you’re in foreign intelligence service. One of those visitors
was the Russian resident. The chief Russian announced
intelligence officer at the Russian embassy in Washington. And we had a pleasant 15-
to 20-minute chat over tea. I wished him well,
thanked him for the visit, walked him to the door, and my electronic
surveillance team immediately entered the office through the back door and did an electronic sweep of my office to make sure he had not left behind any listening devices. Are you getting a picture here? Okay? It is not a close relationship. As Director of NSA, we were in the business of
turning Russian linguists into Serbian linguists. If you recall the issues
du jour in the Balkans at that point in history. So there was this pulling back on the part of American intelligence with regard to what was
primarily job 1 through job n for most of my professional career. I tell a story. If you recall, in August of 2008, the Russian Army invaded Georgia. Recall they grabbed
Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I mean, the fine print,
the tactical circumstance, it was probably the Georgians that were pulling the lanyards on the
first pieces of artillery that provoked the fight,
and then the Russians… Why you would provoke a fight with a near core-level
Russian Army exercise ending just over your border is beyond my ability to understand. But so it appears the Georgians did, the Russian Army comes across the border on the grounds of
protecting Russian speakers in those two provinces, and so on. At which point, Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia and
a good friend of America, actually a graduate of many
American academic institutions, President Saakashvili calls Steve Hadley, the National Security Advisor, in essence saying, “The
Russians are coming, “and I think they’re coming to Tbilisi.” And so what Saakashvili wants to know from Steve is, “Are
they coming to Tbilisi?” And Steve said something to the effect, “I’ll call you back.” And he immediately picked
up the phone and called me. “I was just on the phone
with President Saakashvili. “Where are the Russians?
How far are they going? “Are they going to Tbilisi?” And I gave a classic
intelligence officer’s answer: “I’ll call you back.” (laughing) So I went out in my outer office. It’s August 2008. Went out in my outer office, turned to my two executive
assistants, Mary and Mary Jane, and said, “Get my Georgia
people up here right away.” People who would be familiar
with the circumstance. And they started going through both their physical Rolodex and
their electronic Rolodex, and they’re hitting buttons
and getting on the phone, and I turned over here
to my Chief of Staff, Larry Pfeiffer, looked at Larry, and said, “We got Georgia people, don’t we?” (laughing) And we did, and they were good. In fact, they were great. In fact, they briefed the president, who came out a day or two
later to get a full lay down. But the point I’m trying to tell you is we were so focused on
the things we were doing that Georgia, the Russian Army, they weren’t in the center of the scope. So, remember, I still got this question. Where’s Russian armor? How far are they going? Are they going to Tbilisi? Now, I think those of
you who’ve studied this know they don’t. They go to Tshkinvali, they hang a right, and they go from South
Ossetia up to Abkhazia and establish a zone of
control in Northern Georgia, but we don’t know that at the time. How punishing is the “Russian punishment exercise” going to be? And so we turned to
national technical means, who should be able to routinely, if not intercept and decrypt
Russian Army communications, should at least be able to tell us where the hell they’re coming from. It’s called DF, it’s direction finding. And so we put a request in to DF the FLOT. I’ll decode that, okay? Use direction finding equipment to identify the FLOT, the
forward line of troops. Where is Russian armor? We had so focused America’s
precious intelligence dollars in order to be able to pick up phone calls from low-powered cell phones in the Korangal Valley of Afghanistan that we had actually lost the ability to do what was
fundamentally a simple task. Not decode, decrypt, and
read the communications, but simply know where the radio was when it was emitting the signal. We could not electronically,
remotely, technically locate the FLOT. And so I actually, as Director of CIA, directed several of my
stations in the Caucasus, “Get in your car, drive to Tbilisi, “go into the station,
get a phone and a GPS, “drive north, when you see a T-80, stop, (laughing) “take a reading, and
phone the coordinates in.” And that’s actually
pretty much what happened. Okay, so I’m trying to
give you the impression that we moved focus away
from the Russian issue. Now, you know, you can go ahead and accuse us of one thing or another, but institutions are like human beings, and stressed human beings who’ve got a lot of things to do in a day, and so you can’t do everything you wanna do with regard to your studies. So too with intelligence agencies can’t do everything that
they might wanna do, had they have enough resources. When I was director and someone asked me, “What are your priorities?” I would bark out a little bit of Washington alphabet soup. It was, “CTCPROW.” Counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, the rest of the world. All right? And that’s pretty much how we allocated the resources you gave us. Dave Petraeus, familiar name, army guy? Yeah, one of my successors. Dave came to the house to visit me as he was preparing for
his confirmation hearings to be Director of CIA. Dave was talking to all
the former living directors and asking the kinds of questions
you’d expect a guy to ask. “What’s it like?” “I’m a military guy. What’s
it like with civilians?” We got all done over
coffee and coffee cake in the kitchen of my house. He was there with his wife, Holly. We were walking out. I let my wife, Jeanine,
and Holly kind of lead and go out on the porch, and I do that kind of
Washington pull-aside. “Hey, Dave. One more thing?” And pulled him into my
living room and said, “Dave, you need to know something. “CIA has never looked more like OSS “than it does right now.” Office of Strategic Services, Direct Action arm, World War II. “Dave, CIA has never looked more like OSS “than it does right now, “and by the way, that’s good. “America’s safer for it. “But you realize, right, “it’s not OSS? “It’s the nation’s
global espionage service, “and you’re gonna have to struggle “every day like I did,
and I think Leon’s doing, “to widen your aperture and
remind not just yourself, “but your agency, that it’s got these “broader responsibilities and cannot be “overly consumed by the
immediate operational “tactical requirements
of the terrorism fight.” If intel had a little
problem with focusing, I think policy had equal challenges. Recall President Bush’s famous quote. He went to visit Vladimir Putin, he looked into his eyes and saw his soul. Recall that? I think it was Bob Gates who
went there later and said… Well, the first thing he said
was when he got to Moscow, it probably doesn’t rank high in good things to say to
your host, all right? He gets out of the plane, goes to Moscow, go to downtown Moscow and says, “Ha, so this is what it
looks like from the ground.” (laughing) Gates famously said, “I
looked Putin in the eye “and I saw the KGB.” (laughing) And President Obama had his own kinda relationship thing going on with Vladimir Vladimirovich. Recall, he’s like a lazy
schoolboy in the back row and he always slouches, and so on. So I mean, it wasn’t that
it was just your intel guys who might not have been spending as much energy as you
wanted focusing on this, because they, like we,
had a bunch of stuff over here that was pretty
much filling up the day. I think President
Obama’s analysis, though, once this became
something you can’t avoid, I think President Obama’s analysis was generally about correct. These are my words now,
not the president’s, but I think they reflect what he said. This is not a resurgent power. This is a revanchist power, but it is not resurgent. Don’t confuse these guys
with China, all right? And again, still my words, but I think reflecting
President Obama’s thinking. The things you need to be
somebody in the modern era, fundamentally, the Russian
Federation doesn’t have. Now, they got nuclear weapons, but that’s the detritus
of a previous era, okay? They got a veto at New York. That truly is the detritus
of an earlier era. When you think about what you got now, the things you need to be somebody, they’ve certainly just
about run out of democracy. They’ve pretty much run
out of entrepreneurship. It’s a rhetorical question,
but I’ll ask the question. When was the last time you
bought anything from Russia that wasn’t energy, fish
eggs, or a matryoshka doll? And not many people have an
answer for that question. It is not an entrepreneurial society. They’re not running out of oil or gas, but they’re never getting more than 50 bucks a barrel for it, because if they do,
we’re gonna get in a car and drive southwest of here to Erie and start on cranking the pipes on top of Marcellus Shale, and we’re gonna drive the
global price of oil back down. Now, the numbers may not be correct, but you understand that they’re not going back to 110, which is where they were for
what I will call “Putin 1.” Remember, there’s an interval there where Medvedev gets to be president. So, you know, oil at a fixed price, not a good price for the Federation, running out of entrepreneurship, running out of democracy, running out of Russians. A declining population, not just because of the birth rate, but frankly, because of the death rate. Life expectancy in the Federation is less than that in the old Soviet Union. That’s a statement. And the primary causes of
death for Russian males? Traffic accidents, violence,
and substance abuse. And oh, by the way, this is not a society that can make up for
the domestic shortfall by the way they embrace immigrant cultures and civilizations. That is just not part of the playbook. And so there are very,
very limiting factors here in what constitutes
the ability to be great in the broader world. Remember, revanchist, not
necessarily resurgent. Now, Putin is playing what I view to be a very weak hand very, very aggressively. And more often than not, very, very well. I was on Morning Joe, it’s
probably two years ago now, and he had done something
we should’ve been mad at, and we were complaining appropriately. I was in D.C., they were up in New York, and they’re about ready
to cut to commercial and I go, “Hey, Joe, can I
just say one more thing?” “Yeah. Yeah, General, what have you got?” And I said, “Joe, you
realize he’s doing all this “and he doesn’t have more than “a pair of sevens in his hand, right? “No picture cards. “And of course, he keeps
betting those sevens, and he’ll keep betting
them until somebody calls.” And up until that point, and maybe even up to the present time, nobody’s calling. And so he’s playing this fairly
weak hand very, very well. So what has he done? Well, he’s grabbed Crimea. He’s parked in the Donbass. He’s beat his chest
against the Baltic states. He has returned Russian/Soviet military power to the Middle East for the first time in 50 years. He is harassing American
aircraft and ships in international spaces, air and sea. He, again, is acting
very, very aggressively. I think it has to do
with his social contract. I think Putin 1, okay, that’s oil at 100
and change a barrel. Putin 1 is, “I’m gonna be autocratic. “That shouldn’t disturb
you, you’re used to it. “And oh, by the way,
you’re gonna be rich.” And then you’ve got the Medvedev interval. He comes back, oil is where it’s at, the sovereign wealth fund isn’t growing nearly like it was growing. You’ve got the effect
of Western sanctions. And now, I think, the bumper sticker for the social contract is, “Hey, I’m still gonna be autocratic, “but don’t worry, you’re gonna be proud.” And hence, you’ve got this redressing of historic Russian grievances. I’ve heard Putin described
as a nationalist. Yeah, that’s a given. A Soviet nationalist, not a narrowly defined
Russian nationalist, in terms of what he views to be his legitimate space is the space that was formerly occupied
by the Soviet Union, and so he’s been very,
very active in those areas. There’s another broad aspect to this too, “I’m gonna make you proud.” It’s fairly easy to be sympathetic to the Russian population with regard to the events of the late 20th and early 21st century. Whatever issues it may have, whatever problems we know about, whatever judgments we may make
about their political system, they were still somebody, and they have gone through
a generation and change that had to be tremendously traumatic. And so now you’ve got, I think, President Putin trying to
restore Russia’s self-image as Russian greatness. There’s a whole lot of
talk about the Third Rome, and frankly, that’s why you get that really starkly conservative social policy inside the Russian Federation that again, kinda recredentials them as the heir, the genuine, the legitimate heir of the Western cultural tradition. Now, they are not
accepted as the Third Rome by the rest of the West, and they very much want to be accepted. And I’m gonna go through
now an extended metaphor. It’s gonna look like a
Saturday morning cartoon until I’m done, and then
I hope it will make sense, so bear with the cartoon, all right? It’s a little Scooby-Doo
here right in the middle of a talk on the Russian Federation. I picture the Russians, because of those limitations
I told you about before, the population, the industry,
the entrepreneurship. I mean, I had one analyst
describe Russia to me as a colonized country. Now, it’s colonized by Russians who exploit it for everything it’s worth and go live in London, but it is, in that sense,
a colonized country. So they’re sitting over here, and unfortunately, the only chair they got is the one that lets them sit at the little people’s table. He’s over here with the kids. Now, he can look over here and he can see the big people, and they’re sitting here at this fine, tall, large table. The big people. You know, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States. The people who are somebody. And he desperately wants to pull his chair from that little table
over to this big table, but I already told you,
his chair doesn’t fit. So what he’s doing, every night, is walking over there
during the hours of darkness and secretly, with a saw, hacking off about half to
three-quarters of an inch from the big people’s tables and the big people’s chairs, every night, so that sooner or later, after he’s done that enough nights, he’s gonna grab his chair and he’s gonna slide it over, and it’s gonna look
like it fits perfectly. It’s gonna look like he just belongs. Which, again, is my Scooby-Doo, Saturday morning,
cartoonish representation of support for Brexit, for the attack on the European Union, for the struggle to destroy NATO unity, for trying to delegitimize practically every election in the Western democracies of Western Europe, and for their unsustained, unrelenting attack on American
democracy in 2015 and 2016. He wants to delegitimize
institutions and countries with whom he cannot compete
in their current state. And his objective here, knowing
that I can’t go this way, is I gotta make them go that way. Which now brings me to
Russian interference in the American electoral process. Now, I began with a bit
of a confessional here about we were looking over here and all this other stuff started to pop up over here, go figure. Let me do another round of confessing. I actually have some experience with regard to the
American cyber enterprise. I was the Director of the
National Security Agency. I was not commander of Cyber Command. It did not exist when I was at Fort Meade. But what did exist was
the embryonic ancestor of Cyber Command, something
clumsily described as “Join Functional Component
Command Net Warfare,” which fundamentally meant that in addition to stealing
other people’s information, if I had the appropriate authority, I could destroy their information too. In other words, I had both, for those of you who
study this kind of stuff, I had both Title 50 and
Title 10 authorities. I had traditional espionage authorities, I had traditional war-making authorities. I’m sorry, I’m just
credentialing myself here, okay? I know a little bit about
this cyber thing, all right? I got first parachuted
into the cyber thing in the mid-1990s. I got assigned to what was then called the Air Intelligence Agency
in San Antonio, Texas. I’d just left being the head
of American intelligence for U.S. forces in Europe, which meant in the mid-90s, I’m dealing with the war in the Balkans, which was genuinely Medieval in its causes, its
effects, and its conduct. And then I get parachuted
into San Antonio, where I take over the
Air Intelligence Agency, which was at the time on the cutting edge of American thinking about
this new cyber thing. Frankly, during one of my first briefings, they never quite said this to me, but if I summarized it, it was, “Hayden, huh. Glad you’re here, General. “Please, sit down, take
out a clean sheet of paper “and a number two pencil, write this down: “land, sea, air, space, cyber. “It’s a domain, it’s a
location, it’s a place. “We’re gonna go fight there. Got it?” Land, sea, air, space, cyber. By the way, that’s now
American military doctrine. It’s enshrined in American
doctrinal manuals. That’s how we think about it. What is not as public was when we were in San Antonio, we actually had a pretty
severe argument internally as to what it is we were about. What is this new thing? And very briefly, the
parameters of the debate were, “Are we in the cyber business? “Is this about cyber dominance? “Or is this about information dominance?” Okay, that may not be a clear distinction right at the moment. Let me work it out, all right? Cyber dominance or information? Now, when we argued, we argued this like we were Jesuits at a Medieval university, okay? Because this is a
fundamental doctrinal choice. Which way you going? Now, as you probably know, since we don’t have an
Information Dominance Command, hint, hint, we went cyber. The alternative was not just cyber, the digital network thing, but fighting for, winning in, dominating the information domain, which meant it included cyber, but it also included
psychological operations, or what’s called MISO now, Military Information Support Operations. Sounds like a soup, I know it, but it’s still Psychological Operations, disinformation, deception,
public diplomacy, public affairs. Shaping the information environment was what was behind door two. We opted for door one, cyber. Frankly, because door two, you’ve probably already
gotten the impression, that’s very complicated. Cyber’s tough enough. This is really hard. And, frankly, it’s really hard in a free society to be twerking
and untwerking information, which you cannot guarantee is only gonna get to the other guy. In a connected world, it blows back on us. So we found it operationally easier to go, “Hey, we’re cyber guys.” And easier to go, “We’re cyber guys,” because this implicated
so many serious things. I’m sorry, is that distinction
clear enough? Yeah. The Russians took door two, okay? Unarguably, clearly, doctrinally, the Russians went to door two. And if you’re really interested in this, go ahead Google a general named Gerasimov, who is now a chief of the general staff, and as a younger officer, he wrote about information dominance, working in the information domain, creating the information space, within which conflict takes place. Information space as a decisive arm of the conflict. And hence, hence you get little green men going into Crimea where everyone’s going, “I wonder what those
little green men mean?” That’s why Russian
separatists in the Donbass shoot down a Malaysian airliner and kill 300 innocent people in an act that is so blatant we should be done talking about it, and the Russian information machine creates such a cloud. I’m seeing some folks nod. So you’re familiar with this. They create such a cloud over the (clears throat) “facts” of the case that actually, a lot of
normal Europeans say, “Oh, that’s just very complicated. “It’s really hard to figure
out what happened there.” It is a byproduct of the Russians going for door number
two, not door number one. We saw door number two in the American electoral
campaign in 2016. It began with simple cyber theft. It began with agents of
the Russian Federation stealing a bunch of American emails. Emails at the Democrat National Committee, emails of John Podesta. Now, you look like friendly people, so I’m just gonna be totally honest with you here, all right? That’s called “honorable
international espionage,” okay? And if we could do it as Americans, I mean, if we could steal
the emails of United Russia, and we actually thought those emails would teach us something we didn’t know, we’d steal them in a heartbeat. The enabler for this,
the theft of the emails, is not a very interesting
part of this story. The theft of the emails is
accepted international practice. It’s an R-rated thing out there. It’s what adult nations do to one another, steal for knowledge. Now, there are interesting subplots to the Russian theft. I’m almost certain the Russian
government didn’t do it. It was done by Russian criminal gangs on behalf of the Russian Federation. I was giving a talk in downtown Washington for Yevgeny Kaspersky. Kaspersky Labs, anti-virus,
really good products. Don’t buy them if you’re buying them for a .gov product because they’ve been decertified by our government, but they are very high-quality products. And I know Yevgeny. We’ve been on a couple of
panels in Europe together. We’ve chatted. So he invites me to come and give a talk for Kaspersky North America at the Reagan Center down in D.C. Hey, okay. So I go down there and I do
my normal cyber thing, right? And one of the historical
examples of the cyber thing is the Russians collapsing
the Internet system in Estonia in 2007. If you recall the history, the Estonians, now independent, want to take a Red Army memorial that’s in downtown Tallinn, and they want to move
it out to the suburbs where there’s a Red Army graveyard. Of course, the Russians, not a good idea. A lot of Russian angst about this. And in my story, I then, kinda using air quotes
at the Reagan Center, and then said, “‘Patriotic
Russian hackers’ then attacked the Estonian Internet system and brought it to its knees with a massive DDOS attack.” And again, for those
of you who study this, you know that there is no country on Earth more wired than Estonia. I mean, they do everything, including the actual
vote, with their thumbs. So they collapsed the
Estonian Internet system, “patriotic” Russian hackers. So I get all done with the speech, I’m walking off-stage, and Yevgeny’s at the bottom
of the stairs saying, “Michael, very interesting, good speech, really liked it, those weren’t
patriotic Russian hackers.” I go, “All right, who are they?” And he begins to explain to me. Now I’m gonna use my words now, not Yevgeny Kaspersky’s, okay? Godfather I, scene one, okay? Wedding on the lawn, Don
Corleone’s in the library taking petitions, remember? The undertaker comes. “My daughter, she’s under threat. “Don Corleone, I need a favor.” “Yes, yes, I will grant you this favor. “I will protect your daughter. “But from time to time, “and this time may never come, “but from time to time, “I may call upon you for a service.” Remember? Yeah. Don Vladimir has that relationship with Russian criminal gangs, which allows the Russian criminal gangs pretty much a free legal
space to do their thing, as long as their thing is
that way, not this way. And then, from time to time, the Don has need of a service. Criminal gangs do the relatively
elementary cyber heist, pull the data in. So so far, the only
thing unusual about this is kinda outsourcing it. In terms of nation-states trying to steal political data
from other nation-states, happens all the time. And now, we get into
what’s really happening. Remember door two. Not cyber, information dominance. The Russians then
weaponize the information and begin to push it back in to the American information
space via WikiLeaks, through a website they’ve
created on their own called D.C. Leaks. By pushing the data into our space and then having an army of trolls, very likely in St. Petersburg, touch the data in ways that prompt the Google algorithms to pull the data forward as trending. Not human beings doing this, but bots. Pulling the data forward as trending, and now it becomes part of the
American information space, which is then reflected
in RT and Sputnik News about what is going on in America, which is then reflected in the American Twittersphere
and Facebook pages. Door two, information dominance. Everything I just told you is a high-confidence judgment of the American intelligence community, and although we occasionally
get things wrong in the past, after the Iraq weapons of
mass destruction fiasco, we don’t slap high-confidence on anything unless we are really, really certain, and I would tell you that
what I’ve told you now is high-confidence, not because somebody did some forensics at some DNC website. It’s because we’re on the
other side of the screen and have a pretty good
idea as to what happened. So why’d the Russians do this? The intelligence assessment, it’s called an ICA, Intelligence Community Assessment, is done by the DNI, FBI, CIA, and NSA. You all understand that
alphabet soup? Okay, good. The Intelligence Community
Assessment is that number one, the Russians did
it to mess with your heads. Check. That happened. I mean, when you get the president-elect of the United States in
a really ugly contest with his intelligence services, check, they messed with your heads. They did it to mess with our heads, they did it to punish Hillary Clinton because frankly, Putin hates her. Third reason they did it was because they wanted to delegitimize what they were confident was going to be a Clinton administration. They wanted to undercut her validity, her popularity with the American people. And then about September or October, they kinda woke up and said, “Damn, that other guy could win.” And the high-confidence
judgment of the community is that they then began to do things to actually push the vote in
the direction of Donald Trump. All that’s high-confidence judgment of the American intelligence community. I believe it in my heart of hearts. I also believe it affected the election. I cannot measure the effect. No one can measure the effect. So now we’re done
talking about the effect. Donald Trump is the legitimate president of the United States, but the big story here is that the Russians, as part
of that broad campaign to make that table smaller so their chair fits, they’ve done the same thing in other Western democracies, as part of that campaign, they did something unprecedented to the American public, to the American information space, and to the American electoral process. American intelligence
kinda got wind of this April-ish of 2016. I mean, the Russians do
stuff like this a lot. But about April-ish or so, maybe May, you know, this is looking
a little different here. This is looking a little more substantial. A little more broad. It looks like it’s a little more approved at a very, very high level. And so in the summer, the leaders of your intelligence community began to try to, metaphorically of course, shake the president of the United States by the lapels, saying, “You
gotta worry about this. “You gotta worry about this.” And the historical record’s pretty clear. Even if the president accepted it, the choices of what you do about this are fairly limited because
if you do too much, it looks like you’re putting
your thumb on the scale and you’re trying to affect the electoral process yourself. So the president allows John Brennan, who’s head of CIA at the time, to do what John described to me as “a high-hard brushback pitch” to his counterpart, a
fellow named Bortnikov, who is head of the FSB, “Kinda knock this off.” President Obama raised it on the margins of the G20 with Putin, and then with data in hand, which they pretty much had for a while, but now with the approval
of the president, on the sixth of October, Jim Clapper, the Director
of National Intelligence, and Jay Johnson, the Secretary
of Homeland Security, hold a really important news conference and give about two-thirds of what it was I’ve told you already. They don’t get into the motivation part, but the Russian manipulation, the information space, the bots, the touching the data, that’s out there. And it is an absolute blockbuster
story when it comes out. For 29 minutes. And then the Access
Hollywood video was released. President Trump, the bus, bad language. 30 minutes after that, WikiLeaks dumps the John Podesta emails. What an amazing coincidence to report. And the Russian intervention story then pretty much gets
buried pre-election day. I’m gonna fast forward. In early January, they then
go brief the president-elect pretty much with the whole story as I’ve laid it out to you. The president-elect
then issues a statement on the afternoon of six January saying, “Our wonderful intelligent folks have come to brief us. They have laid out a
really, really, really serious cyber problem.” Remember, door one, door two. “They’ve laid out a really,
really serious cyber problem, mentioned that the Russians
had done certain things, but assured us that the Russians had no effect on the election.” Everything after “we have really great “intelligence officers” is a lie. But that was the public statement from the Trump campaign as they tried to pivot away from the real story, which was, “You got a Russia problem.” Remember back to losing focus and maybe we’ve got too much over here. The Trump campaign vis-a-vis the Russians is just a mystery. I mean, you follow this. I’m not telling you
anything you don’t know, so I won’t dwell on it. But the candidate’s inability to criticize Vladimir Putin, no matter what issues
were brought up to him, it’s just stunning. I wrote an article for the Washington Post the Friday before the election in which I try to parse out the almost inexplicable relationship between campaign Trump and
the Russian Federation. I go with, “No matter what he says, “he won’t say anything
negative about Putin.” I go back to really puzzling connections between members of the Trump
campaign and the Russians. You got Roger Stone, people
going back and forth. You’ve got Don Jr. talking about, “We’ve got a lot of Russian money,” but you don’t know where it all, I mean, it was just eerie. I got to the end of the article, and this is the Friday
before the election, right in the center of the op-ed page of the Washington Post, and I got to the end of the article, and I mean, I had to connect the dots. I mean, you know, I can’t
just throw chum out there and say, “Well, I wish I
knew what was going on.” (laughing) And I said, “Look, I’m really
challenged to explain this,” and so I reverted to a
phrase from the Soviet era. The Soviets used to make use of what we in the West could
call “fellow travelers,” fairly naive individuals that, frankly, the Sovs probably had a
fair amount of contempt for, but were quite happy to manipulate them and use them for their own purposes. The Russian phrase for the
person is “polezni durak.” Useful idiot. And I ended the article with, “Maybe we got a polezni
durak situation here.” And to be fair, I said, “Look, this is probably gonna offend “an awful lot of people
who support Mr. Trump, “and I understand that, “but frankly, that’s the
most benign interpretation “I can come up with right now.” And I just left it there. So here we are, with our relations with
the Russian Federation as bad as you can possibly imagine, with President Trump, no matter what his instincts may be, he’s never made a speech saying, “Our relationship with
the Russian Federation “will be governed by the
following three principles.” You just don’t know. But he certainly has no political maneuvering room in which to warm our relations
with the Russian Federation. And we here in the United States are trying to search for truth, because if we don’t
want it to happen again, we should have a pretty good idea of what happened then. I don’t know that the
intelligence community is seized of the issue. They’ve done their duty,
they’ve issued their report, and frankly, the intelligence community responds to the priorities of the, bada-bada-bing, the president. And as recently as two weeks ago, the president said that the
Russian story was a hoax, so I don’t think the intel guys are rowing very hard. They’re doing their duty, but I don’t think that’s
the center of gravity. You’ve got investigations in Congress, but again, that’s Congress, and with all the political and procedural baggage
that comes with that. And then you’ve got the real dog with the bone between his jaws investigation with Bob Mueller at the FBI. But that’s all about breaking laws, which is important, but is, frankly, not
the question I’m asking. The question I’m asking is, “What’s the full story
about what happened?” And so that’s kind of where we are in the broader scope of things, still trying to divine
exactly what happened, and most importantly, taking steps not to
allow it to happen again. I’m gonna end with one
editorial comment, Sean, and then we can have at it
with the generalized scrum. What it was I described the Russians doing is called a covert influence campaign, and I would be the last
person in this room as the former director of such-and-such to claim that our government has never, ever attempted to conduct a
covert influence campaign. But I can tell you, as
someone who should know a little bit more about this
than the average citizen, that covert influence campaigns never create fractures in a society. You can’t do it. All covert influence campaigns can do is to exploit pre-existing
fractures in a society. And so if you’re asking
for my general counsel as to how do we best inoculate ourselves against this kind of thing
happening in the future, the answer’s pretty easy. Change how we behave towards one another in our political discourse. And with that, I will stop and happily entertain any
questions you might have. Thank you. (applause) Sir. – [Male Student] It’s plainly obvious that Vladimir Putin is a strongman running a Boss Tweed-style government on a national scale, but what are the estimations of what might happen if something, God forbid, were to befall him? – Yeah. Did you hear the question? What’s the success rate of Putin if you have a sudden change? Health reason or accident, or whatever. The genuine answer is, I don’t know. And I’ve been party to
conversations about this, and generally, what I get, is because of the
current political culture in the Russian Federation, you get Putin without Putin. The system is designed to work
the way it currently works, and even if you change personalities, you get turbulence, you
probably have a period before you get back to stability, but the system, just
because of where Russia is currently in its history, the system will default in the direction of what it is you have now. Yes, sir? – [Male Student] I know that
the talk is more about Russia. – Yeah. – [Male Student] But, again,
not to overcomplicate things, recognizing China’s One
Belt, One Road policy and trying to connect Asia, sort of recognizing the influence of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, do you see China and Russia becoming closer allies
or closer competitors in the future, I guess? – Yeah, so it’s China,
Russia, how’s that gonna work? So I gave you a fairly
idealistic view here. I was condemning Russia for interfering in what is a genuine democracy, and so on. Now I’m gonna give you
a real politic answer. I love One Belt, One Road. Push that Chinese influence along that Marco Polo
route as much as you can, and keep it out of the South China Sea. Make it competitive with Russia, as opposed to competitive with America, the Pacific power. And I guess a corollary is, I don’t see these two kind of lining up. I think there could be a
mutual energy dependency, so as we begin to liquefy
Marcellus natural gas and begin to ship it to Europe and wean our European
friends off of Russian gas, the Russians are probably gonna have to turn to the Chinese for a market. I get that part. But I don’t see the
geopolitical convergence. Somebody in the back. Oh, somebody in front. – [Male Student] So,
building up on your analogy that Russia is playing a very
weak hand very aggressively, what do you think of allegations of potential Russian
support to the Taliban in Afghanistan in order to make Taliban a second Vietnam for us? – So yeah, he’s questioned
Russian support for the Taliban. The Russians are playing a hand, obviously from an American point of view, is not very constructive. But actually, from a
strategic point of view, they are not trying to be constructive. They are trying to be obstructionist. And that is a high leverage point. Number one, you got the veto in New York. I already told you, that’s
kind of an accident of history, but they got the veto. So that gives them… I don’t want to say
artificial sense of power, but in a sense, it is. It doesn’t devolve out of the
current realities of power. But they’ve got that. They go to Syria, where frankly, a minimal amount of military effort, largely made possible because we didn’t, really changes the physics
of the battlefield, and actually reverses
the flow of the river. Bashar was going down, and then the Russians came in, again, fairly minimal commitment, turns it this way. And so what you’ve got are the Russians in a position where global circumstances offered them the opportunity to obstruct, which doesn’t require a great deal, but does then give them higher leverage than you would think they would deserve. I mean, look, the economy of Italy is bigger than that of Russia, all right? So, you kinda get a sense of why I’m judging it this way. Yes, sir? – [Male Student] Thank you, General. For the reasons you listed, isn’t what you’re talking about really the short-term view? Russia’s a declining power, and looking to the future, what do you see him going forward? And if I could get one
quick bonus question, the Europeans, other than
Brexit, are showing us up. They’re not as vulnerable to fake news. There was an article
about Italy the other day. Hey, so–
– And France, for example. – Right, could you comment on why they’re inoculated and we’re not? – Yeah. So what was the first one? – Long-term, long-term.
– Oh, yeah. – Not short-term.
– So, yeah. You know, again, frankly, people think intel officers are supposed to be there
to tell the future. We’re not. We’re supposed to try to create understanding of the present. And that’s not a dodge. I’m gonna go ahead and
try to do the future here, but fundamentally, if that’s
what you’re asking of us, yours is as good as mine. Yogi Berra, “Predicting’s really hard, “particularly about the future.” (laughing) I do think Putin knows that
timelines are against him, which I think is why he is as aggressive as he has been in the short-term, which frankly, makes him more,
rather than less, dangerous. Because I think he understands the long-term trend lines. Now, based on Gerasimov, and I do recommend your reading him, he has got a pretty
powerful, asymmetrical hand, which is playing to your second question, which, frankly, we can’t turn against him. It’s a different kind of society. And so he is now playing this asymmetrical
information dominance hand in a way that, frankly,
is fairly threatening to our well-being, but it’s a cheap hand. It’s the one that the weaker power can use against the freer nation
with a freer society. I got Brexit, put that aside. I think the continentals
have gone to school on Brexit and the American election. I am totally confident that we have been full kimono here with the Europeans on what
it is we think happened. So that’s a plus. I also think we Americans are in a particular
historical circumstance with our own political campaigns that is not the same
in European countries. And finally, the European
constitutional systems allow a little more government tweaking of what is or is not news. We have a really powerful
allergy against… Different circumstances, they went to school on us, and some more constitutional authorities than we’re comfortable
giving our government I think gives the Europeans
a little bit of an edge. – [Male Student] I
appreciate the full answer. – Okay, thank you. Who’s got a mic? – [Male Student] Oh, thank you, General. I wish to ask you a question about hearing earlier, probably today, that Vladimir Putin, he
made a statement that America was applying double standard on the issue of Crimea,
Kosovo, and the Catalonia. Do you think that is necessarily true, or if you do not think so, can you offer any reasons,
then, if it’s not true? – I mean, obviously, the charge of… This is actually… See, did y’all hear the question? Catalonia, Kosovo, Crimea,
what’s your problem? This is called the
“whataboutism” argument, when you look at this very certain thing and the counter is not to
argue about that thing, it’s to say, “Yeah, but what about?” Kind of like, “Squirrel, squirrel!” And go over there. I don’t know much about Catalonia. I’m gonna leave that alone. But I do know the Kosovars did not wanna be part of
the Serbian Federation. And there is a bit of a history there that kept Kosovo as an autonomous region. You can make the vote that the Crimeans did not want to be part of… You can make that choice, and frankly, I think if you had a free and open plebiscite, I think that the returns would
not have been as dramatic, but I think a lot of Crimeans would have voted to be part
of the Russian Federation. Crimea, historically, is Russian. It’s the birthplace of Russian Orthodoxy, it’s home port for the
Russian Black Sea Fleet. The Russians in Crimea are, by and large, military retirees. It’s kinda like Tampa. (laughing) So I think it would go. But the Russians gave the Ukrainians absolute territorial guarantees in return for the delivery of Russian nuclear weapons back to Russia and out of Ukraine in the early 90s. And so if the Russians are talking about the will of the people, I’m gonna say, “Okay,
big guy, let’s sign up. “But before you get to
do the vote in Crimea, “let’s do Ingushetia. “Let’s do Dagestan.” I mean, I could go off all sorts of autonomous republics inside
the Russian Federation, so I think the issue was the changing of the border by force. That actually moves this one into a column different than the others. – [Female Student] So, although the IC may not be very focused on the
Russian hacking right now– – Well, I don’t know enough, but I just don’t think it’s up there. I mean, let me put it to you this way: If the election had gone the other way, I’m pretty sure where
it would be on the list. – [Female Student] The media, obviously, is still very attentive to it. And given your closing remarks on political fracturing, do you think this is warranted or it’s valuable for the media to still be focusing on this role? – Yeah, I do, because I do think it’s
an unanswered question. Now, we got a real issue here. The media needs to be the
media, not the opposition. And we really have to be careful it doesn’t think of
itself as the resistance, and there is a bit of
a sliding scale there. The media’s gotta work really hard to be kinda just calling
balls and strikes. Now, in this particular case, I think the weight of evidence is storylines that are less friendly to the administration
than other storylines, but you can make a case that some networks out there are just looking for storylines that are less friendly
to the administration, but it doesn’t delegitimize
some storylines which should be less friendly. So I’m on the air a lot, and apropos of nothing, I was on last night on Don Lemon, and the issue du jour was the phone call. And I began by purposely, fundamentally based on upon what I think the background of your question is, I purposely began with,
“Well, first of all, Don, “for anybody out there who’s never “made this phone call, “you’re not entitled to an opinion. “I’ve made this phone call. “This is a really hard phone call to make. “Anybody who’s made this phone call “would never criticize anybody “for how they made this phone call.” So that was my kinda, “Come
on, give the guy a break.” He didn’t have to do this. He didn’t do it well, but
it didn’t have to do it. Now, then I fairly
criticized the president for what he did after the phone call, you know, dragging the Kelly family in, trying to discredit his
predecessors quite inaccurately, and then, if I can use that word again, he lied about what he said or didn’t say. Okay, that’s all bad. But I actually used the word empathy. I really have empathy for the president for trying to make the call. I just think that’s the right
way to approach these things. And I do fear, I do fear that the press, frankly, because the president
attacks them all the time, there’s a natural response
on the part of the press to just start punching back. They gotta pull a lot of punches, otherwise good people, the ones we count on to do
the right thing in the center, not the wingnuts, okay,
the people in the center, people are gonna delegitimize the press the way the president, frankly, has, and we can’t live with
a delegitimized press. They should be tough, but fair, not view themselves as the opposition, and never view themselves
as the resistance. Who’s got a mic? – [Woman] Here. – Here, okay. – [Male Student] I understand that as an intelligence officer, you’re not supposed to see the future, you’re just supposed to tell us what’s happening right now, but do you believe that the Russians are doing everything that
they’re doing right now in an attempt to possibly create more buffer states in Eastern Europe to prevent the spread of NATO to the east? – So, I had this debate in London. I actually skipped over it
’cause I was going long. Too many war stories. But I had this debate
in London last spring. I wrote this down somewhere. Well, maybe I didn’t. It was Intelligence Squared. It happens in New York now, but the grandfather is the
London stage version of it. And the premise was, “It’s Time to Bring
Russia in From the Cold.” Confrontation with Russia is
no longer in our interests. And so I was debating, and my partner was… Sikorsky. Radek Sikorsky, the former
Polish foreign minister and defense minister. Polish defense minister, you can probably figure out
where he’s on this issue. So we’re good. On the other side was an
academic from King’s College. I’ve forgotten her name. That’s why I wrote it
down, and I can’t find it. And Vladimir Posner, who has been a spokesman,
sometimes an apologist, actually, all the way
back to the Soviet days. And we had full auditorium. There must’ve been 600
people there. Very fancy. It’s on BBC. You can find it. It’s BBC. You can Google “Bring
Russia in From the Cold,” Posner, Sikorski, you can pull it up. We went in there, and the rhythm for Intelligence Squared is everyone votes going in. And the premise was, “It’s Time to Bring
Russia in From the Cold.” And I think there was 49% said yes, about 26% said no, and everyone else said, “Eh, I dunno.” And, “I’ll let you know after the debate.” And so we had the debate, and one of the arguments, one of the arguments that both Posner and the young professor
from King’s College had, was that NATO had threatened Russia with NATO expansion eastward, and so you had Poland
and the Czech Republic and Slovak, Romania, Bulgaria, the Balts, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, all joining NATO and the EU, and that that was really stupid, what do you think the
Russians are gonna do? That’s absolutely threatening. You know they’re gonna act just like this. Number one, I think
that’s the wrong premise. But it almost doesn’t matter
during a debate, right? You gotta argue against it. And my argument against
it was I reject that. And this comes down
directly to your question. I reject that. NATO arms were not threatening
the Russian Federation. In fact, I can build you a case that NATO disarmed during this period. And we went from a time in which we had dozens of maneuver brigades available for combat towards the east to a point where we were in single digits of maneuver brigades, so
there was no increasing physical threat, and in fact, the physical threat from NATO arms to the Russian Federation
was dramatically decreasing. What was scaring the Russian Federation was NATO ideas and NATO ideals, and NATO democracy, and
NATO market economies. And my view of that was, “Tough. “Get over it. “We do not have the right “to exclude the Polish people “from a Europol in free. “We do not have the right “to exclude the Latvian people “from a Europol in free “because the Russians just don’t like it.” And so I’ve got, as you can probably tell, a pretty strong view that yeah, I understand that, but that shouldn’t compel
or control our action. At the end of the debate, that must’ve worked, because it ended up 49-49. (laughing) – [Man] One last question?
Do you have time? – Oh, in the back. – [Male Student] I appreciate
what the previous speaker brought up, as a proud Polish-American and a student who’s
focusing on Eastern Europe, specifically Poland and Russia. Because of what’s happening right now, do you see Poland’s relationship with U.S. as a pivotal ally increasing and rising in the ranks? – Poland’s import to the United States? – [Male Student] Yes. – Yeah, that would be hard to do. Because all my experience with the Poles as an ally of the United States, they were off the chart. They offered to do things for us we should’ve been embarrassed
to ask them to do. And I’m kinda talking about my old stuff. And so we had a very, very good
relationship with the Poles. We have a very, very good
relationship with the Baltics. In fact, in many ways, we
have a better relationship with the eastern half of NATO than we do with the
traditional western half. Largely because the eastern
half looks to us for protection. I mean, we have the
virtue of being powerful, fairly benign, but definitely distant. And therefore, the new
democracies in Eastern Europe kinda hug us pretty tight. We’ve got the right combination that they feel that we need, so I was heartened, I thought he was slow, but I was heartened by President Obama’s European Defense Initiative, and I was actually in the Baltics and near Poland summer before this, when we were beginning to move, frankly, American and other NATO arms into a permanent position, I think we’ve got a battalion each, in the three Baltic states and in Poland. And the American unit that had departed Poland and was driving up through the Baltics, I mean, it looked like
the liberation of Paris. The civilians genuinely celebrating an American striker battalion driving up a Polish, and
then a Latvian, highway. So there was a great welcoming. That’s why I was really troubled when the candidate was asked, “Well, would you defend Latvia?” And he said, “Well, it depends on “whether they’ve paid their bills.” Which is, for somebody of my background, just about a bad an answer
as you can possibly get. Now, he’s kinda fixed that, and frankly, we’ve leveraged that to get some other folks, not the Latvians, they paid a lot, but to get some other folks to chip in a little bit more, not to NATO, you don’t do that. You build your own defense capability. So there’s been a little benign effect, but I do think it really important for our interests to make
it absolutely certain that no one doubts the American commitment to Article Five of the NATO Treaty, including those out
there on the extreme edge of the threat environment, which would be the Poles, the Latvians, the Lithuanians, and the Estonians. Okay. – Well, as testimonial to
the extraordinary crowd that he’s able to bring
together here for the afternoon, also have two jurists here, Federal justices who were
here to keep us honest throughout the entire proceedings. Judge Scullin and Judge Moreland have both been kind enough to spend their afternoon with us as well. We’re just really delighted
that you could do so, and pleased, given the
fact that they’ve kept us completely honest during the
course of the proceedings, that’s for sure. And to the dean of the Maxwell School, thank you, sir, for letting us host an extraordinary visitor here today. Mike, this is just a small, small token of our appreciation. – Thank you. – For your exceptional time that you’ve spent here. Please join me in thanking him. (applause)

7 thoughts on “Phanstiel Lecture: General Michael Hayden “Cold War Revival?”

  1. General Hayden and the U.S. Intelligence Community (CIA, NSA, FBI) are liars. These people have no proof for any of their claims.

    Hayden is a Liberal hack. He and his band of brothers are about as useless as a group of mean girls trading in gossip.

    Examples:
    1. The Branch Davidians vs. The FBI
    Claim: FBI claimed the Branch Davidians in Texas have automatic weapons. Recommendation: We must raid their Christian Commune and kill them all.
    Truth: There were no automatic weapons, and the FBI killed 50+ unarmed women and children.

    2. Iraq War
    Claim: CIA certified Iraq has WMDs?
    Recommendation: We must go to war.
    Truth: No WMDs found.

    3. Syrian War
    Claim: CIA certified that the Syrian President Assad gassed his own people? Recommendation: We must go to war.
    Truth: The CIA backed White Helmets were caught on camera staging multiple fake gas attacks. No dead. No injured.

  2. In God we trust and in spooks I don't.. You people make accusations and then don't give proof …. I shit on your opinions….

  3. General Michael Hayden m I this guy that you call guy did you appreciate my help?Im not russian but i did appreciate their help in WWII may be the things have change now but do not commit any strategical mistake watch also the dictatures of the south and what does precisely happend in europe now about them a colonel and general

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