Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency, responds to the White House's announcement that it is revoking ex-CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance. "The way that [White House press secretary] Sarah Huckabee Sanders rolled this out was almost in a tone to be threatening to the rest of us," Hayden said.
Hayden joined CNN’s Jake Tapper by phone Wednesday afternoon to say it is not only a clear act of retribution by Trump for criticizing him but an overt "threat" to silence him.
"I mean, the way that Sarah Huckabee Sanders rolled this out was almost in a tone to be threatening to the rest of us," he said. "In other words, it looks to me like an attempt to make us change the things we are saying when we’re asked questions on CNN or other networks, and I, frankly, for those of us who appear routinely on air, it’s not going to have that effect."
"I certainly try to be respectful for both the office and the person of the president. But you know, you’ve got to tell the truth and if something’s not right or not true, you’ve got to point that out," he added. "And that implied threat isn’t going to change what I think, say or write."
"So the message from you to the White House, to President Trump, is, ‘you can try to threaten me, try to quell my criticism all you want but I’m not going anywhere and I’m not going to stop’?" Tapper asked Hayden.
"No," Hayden replied. "‘Look, you and I have talked a lot, over several years, well before the election, during the campaign, and I certainly am not doing any of this, when you ask me a question, to intentionally hurt Donald Trump or his presidency. I'm just trying to tell the truth as I see it to be and just let things fall where they may then."