Former CIA director tapped for Speaker Series

NEXT SPEAKER — Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, a former head of the National Security and Central Intelligence agencies, will appear April 27 at Catholic Central High School as the part of the Trinity Health System Presents the Herald-Star Speaker Series. -- Associated Press

STEUBENVILLE — Michael Hayden is a man who has never been afraid to speak his mind.

The retired four-star Air Force general spent more than 40 years working in intelligence, serving as head of the National Security and Central Intelligence agencies and helping to lead the war on terror, while facing cyber issues that seem to change every day.

He’ll share details of his career and talk about the current challenges facing the intelligence community at 7:30 p.m. April 27 in Lanman Hall at Catholic Central High School when Trinity Health System Presents the Herald-Star Speaker Series.

“We’re thrilled that Trinity has become our presenting sponsor,” said Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. “We’re also excited to have Hayden appear as part of the series. He’s an expert on our national security services, which have been in the news quite a bit of late.”

Hayden was appointed as director of the National Security Agency by President Bill Clinton, a post he held from March 1999 through April 21, 2005, when he became principal deputy director of national intelligence. President George W. Bush then selected Hayden to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, a position he held from May 30, 2006, through Feb. 12, 2009, when he was replaced by Leon Panetta, who was named by President Barack Obama.

He details his career and offers a unique perspective about events that have changed the world during the last several years in his book “Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror.” The work spent many weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and was named one of the newspaper’s 100 most notable books for 2016.

“There is a story here that deserves to be told, without varnish and without spin,” Hayden writes. “My view is my view, and others will certainly have different perspectives, but this view deserves to be told to create as complete a history as possible of these turbulent times. I bear no grudges, at least not many, but I do want this to be a straightforward and readable history for that slice of the American population that depends on and appreciates intelligence but does not have the time to master its many obscure characteristics.”

He serves as a frequent expert commentator, and is always willing to share his views about the current state of intelligence, including Tuesday’s revelations that the CIA was able to use clandestine methods for bypassing or defeating encryption, antivirus tools and other protective security features for computers, mobile phones and smart TVs. They include the world’s most popular technology platforms, including Apple’s iPhones and iPads, Google’s Android phones and the Microsoft Windows operating system for desktop computers and laptops as well as Samsung TVs.

The information was revealed in a WikiLeaks dump of nearly 9,000 pages of purported U.S. intelligence files. While the agency would not confirm the information came from its storage, Hayden said on Tuesday’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that the technology did exist.

“I can tell you that these tools would not be used against an American,” Hayden told Colbert. “But there are people out there that you want us to spy on. You want us to have the ability to actually turn on that listening device inside the TV, to learn that person’s intentions. This is a wonderful capability. You give the intelligence community $53 billion a year. You gotta get something for your money.”

Hayden also has expressed some strong feelings when asked about the March 4 Twitter accusation made by Trump that President Obama had ordered phones in Trump Tower to be tapped.

“How do you know this? And, by the way, if you have a question about this why don’t you remember you are the president of the United States and call on the agency of the United States government for some answers, which he can do,” Hayden on Monday asked Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio.

Hayden added that Trump’s accusations could have a negative effect in the intelligence community.

“With what happened, with these tweets, you are going to have an awful lot of population of the CIA and FBI at battle stations pushing back at the administration now for no other reason but to defend themselves against a president who has accused them of a felony,” he said.

When it comes to questions about Russia’s interference in the election, the former intelligence chief has said that Obama could have taken a stronger stance on the issue.

“I think the decision he made was made for honorable reasons. He did not want to be or appear to be manipulating our election internally. But I think when you look at this from a broader field of view, we were too timid,” Hayden said in response to a question asked by Norah O’Donnell on the Jan. 9 edition of “CBS This Morning.” He should have done more, he should have been more forceful, more public and more public on pushing back on what the Russians were doing. I think, in retrospect, we let this one slide too long, too far.”

With all of the controversy swirling around the president, Hayden offered some thoughts on how Trump can turn things around.

“No. 1, no tweets. No. 2, be that president we saw … talking to Congress (on Feb. 28.) Work, and I mean this, work on being inclusive, work on being calm, work on building a constituency and support for what it is you intend to do. Not just with your base but a little bit with the opposition and, especially, with the government that has to carry it out,” Hayden told Kilmeade Monday.

A Pittsburgh native, Hayden earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Duquesne University was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Pittsburgh in 1969.

He grew up on the city’s North Side, in a house that was torn down to allow for the construction of Three Rivers Stadium. While he was in eighth grade, he was the quarterback on the St. Peter’s School football team that was coached by Dan Rooney, whose family also attended St. Peter’s. Hayden’s friendship with the Rooneys helped him secure work at the Steelers training camp. He remains a loyal fan of the Steelers, and continues to attend as many games as possible.

His hometown recognized him in 2008 when a street near Heinz Field was named Gen. Michael V. Hayden Boulevard.

This will not be the first speaking appearance in Steubenville for Hayden, who writes about his strong Catholic faith in his book. He delivered the commencement address at the Franciscan University of Steubenville on May 12, 2012.

Hayden is married to the former Jeanine Carrier. They are the parents of a daughter, Margaret, and two sons, Michael and Liam.

He has stayed busy in retirement, and is a principal in the Chertoff Group, a security consultancy founded by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. He also is a distinguished visiting professor at the George Mason University School of Policy, Government and International Affairs, and is co-chair of the electronic grid cybersecurity initiative of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Reserved seat tickets for Hayden’s April 27 presentation cost $20 and are available by visiting heraldstaronline.com. They will available beginning Monday at the Herald-Star office, 401 Herald Square, or by contacting Diana Brown by phone at (740) 283-4711 during regular business hours. All tickets will cost $25 if purchased at the auditorium the night of the presentation.

Copies of “Playing to the Edge” are available for purchase for $25 at the Herald-Star. Attendees who have books will have the opportunity to have them signed after the presentation.

A limited number of VIP ticket packages are available at a cost of $150 for two tickets and $100 for a single ticket. The package includes admission to a private reception with Hayden that will run from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at Catholic Central High School; hors d’oeuvres and beverages; the opportunity to meet Hayden and have a photograph taken with him; a copy of “Playing to the Edge;” a pass for reserved parking at the high school; and special seating for the presentation. Contact Cindy Kotsch at (740) 283-4711 for information.

New for this presentation is a preferred seating option. Priced at $50 per ticket, the package includes a paperback copy of “Playing to the Edge,” special seating and the opportunity to be among the first people to meet Hayden after the presentation. Contact Kotsch for information.

Local college and high school students will have the opportunity to get a free ticket to the presentation through the sponsorship of Cattrell Cos. Inc. Officials from area schools can contact Brown at the paper for details.

Sponsoring the event along with Trinity and the Herald-Star and the Weirton Daily Times are the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Cattrell Cos. Inc., Eastern Gateway Community College, EZtoUse.com, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and WTRF-TV. Special support is being provided by the Best Western Plus at Franciscan Square, Piergallini Catering, Newbrough Photo, Hertz-Thrifty Car Rental and Catholic Central High School.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)


Starting at $4.39/week.

Subscribe Today