CBS News is relaunching "Intelligence Matters," a popular podcast hosted by former CIA Acting Director and CBS News national security contributor Michael Morell that features interviews with leading intelligence and national security officials and experts. The podcast, which launched in 2017, was previously produced in partnership with The Cipher Brief, a website dedicated to national security topics.
In the first episode of the "Intelligence Matters" podcast, Michael Morell speaks with former NSA and CIA Director General Michael Hayden, who details in a new book his concerns about the threat posed by what he calls a "post-truth world" to American institutions and traditions.
"We get a lot of unmediated, un-curated data coming at us. And, not being accustomed to deal with it, we generally then stack it and catalogue it based on a priori beliefs, our tribal beliefs," he told Morell. "We're now taking our core identity as where we stand on the political spectrum. And so when I go out there and say, 'That's wrong,' it's not an argument on facts anymore. I've challenged who you are and that's a bad place for an Enlightenment-based government to be," Hayden said.
The former CIA heads also discuss the nomination of and upcoming confirmation hearing for acting CIA director Gina Haspel, who will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 9. Her nomination is expected to be highly contentious because of her association with an agency "black site" where detainees were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques after 9/11.
"What I say to folks who for one reason or another want to oppose Gina: 'Be careful what you ask for. Who might you get if you don't get this career professional?'" Hayden said. "[G]iven my thought that the president seems to be surrounding himself by more people who think and sound like him. Given those realities, I want Gina Haspel in that room," he said.
The two also discuss previously unknown details about Haspel's largely clandestine career and how the CIA has dealt with its own difficult past.
The Intelligence Matters podcast will be available on iTunes and will post updates about future guests on Twitter and Facebook. New episodes of the podcast, hosted by former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell, will post on Wednesdays.