Former NSA chief: Trump lacks 'deep knowledge' of cybersecurity

Former NSA chief: Trump lacks 'deep knowledge' of cybersecurity
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Gen. Michael Hayden, a former head of the NSA and CIA, says he's worried about Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE’s understanding of cybersecurity.

“When he was asked in the second or third debate about his views on cyber, I think it’s fair to say he displayed — he did not have a deep knowledge of the subject,” said Hayden Wednesday at the Wall Street Journal Future of Cybersecurity breakfast.


Hayden was one of a bevy of former military and intelligence officials who served under Republican presidents but declined to support Trump’s presidential bid.

“If he governs in any way consistent with the language he used as a candidate, I would be very, very concerned,” Hayden said at Wednesday's event.

He expressed hope that Trump would eventually pivot and learn more about cybersecurity but said he had not seen any signs that was happening.

Asked by moderator John Bussey of the Journal why he was skeptical, Hayden rattled off a list of reasons he did not trust Trump’s judgment on cybersecurity.

“Number one, an absolute refusal to admit to a high confidence judgment of the American intelligence community that the Russians had an aggressive, covert influence campaign on the American political process,” said Hayden.

In an article released Tuesday that proclaimed the president-elect Time magazine's “Person of the Year,” Trump continued to deny Russia’s involvement in the hacks on Democratic party organizations and personnel.

Hayden also expressed concerns about Trump’s announced intention to have the Department of Defense develop a plan to protect critical infrastructure.

“Statutorily, that job belongs to Homeland Security,” said Hayden.

Hayden was also concerned by what he characterized as Trump’s rush to judgment in the encryption debate, noting Trump’s call to boycott Apple.

Hayden, like former Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, is a firm believer that civilian use of encryption provides stronger national security.

Trump, like FBI Director James Comey, believes that encryption provides terrorists and criminals with a way to hide from law enforcement.

“I think that is a reflexive national security position, not a thoughtful one,” Hayden said.