Former CIA chief agrees Trump has become a 'recruiting sergeant' for ISIS

Former CIA chief agrees Trump has become a 'recruiting sergeant' for ISIS
© Getty Images

Former CIA chief Michael Hayden said in a new interview that he agrees that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Anti-abortion Dem wins primary fight Lipinski holds slim lead in tough Illinois primary fight MORE has become a "recruiting sergeant" for terrorists groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al Qaeda.

“When Mr. Trump says some of the things that he has said — 'they all hate us,' 'we shouldn’t let any of those people in our country' — what he does is underscore and underpin the fundamentals of [the ISIS] narrative of undying enmity,” Hayden told Al Jazeera English's "Upfront."  

Trump's statements "have already made Americans less safe," Hayden said in the interview, which will air April 1. 

Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S., a position backed by half of American voters in a new poll. He has also said he supports torturing suspected terrorists — a stance that Hayden has rejected. Hayden said troops would ignore orders to torture terror suspects if Trump becomes president and orders them to do so.   

Last week, ISIS released a new recruitment video featuring Trump and calling for jihad after the March 22 terrorist attacks across Brussels that left at least 35 dead and wounded more than 300.

A newspaper linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, meanwhile, published a report on Tuesday that said Trump is the "clearest in expressing the American opinion about Islam, but he lacks political experience," according to The Wall Street Journal.  

The former National Security Agency director and retired Air Force general also said fellow Republican presidential candidate Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz says Cambridge Analytica assured him its practices were legal Dem battling Cruz in Texas: ‘I can understand how people think this is crazy’ Overnight Tech: Facebook faces crisis over Cambridge Analytica data | Lawmakers demand answers | What to watch for next | Day one of AT&T's merger trial | Self-driving Uber car kills pedestrian MORE's call for increasing patrols of Muslim neighborhoods in the U.S. is "dangerous" and could lead to "radicalized communities."

“We don't have radicalized communities in the United States,” Hayden said. “We have some radicalized individuals, but we have it fully within our ability to create radicalized communities, and that kind of rhetoric … actually bends you in the direction of radicalizing communities.”

Hayden also weighed in on the Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Trump keeps up 'low IQ' attack on Maxine Waters GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MORE, saying he believed that her personal email account, which she used for work during her tenure as secretary of State, was hacked by foreign intelligence agencies.

"Yeah. And by the way, I would move heaven and earth as the director of the NSA to get the unclassified emails of several foreign ministers," Hayden said. 

Hayden added that he “would lose respect for scores of intelligence organizations around the planet if they weren’t already thumbing through the emails." 

He said Clinton's home email server "was wrong" and that her explanations "are incoherent."

"It was a terrible mistake," Hayden said 

"Whether or not it represents a crime, I'll let the American justice system decide," Hayden said.