Michael Hayden, who led the CIA under Bush from 2006 to 2009, told Brookings Institution senior fellow Benjamin Wittes in an email sent over the weekend that “Hannity has entered the pantheon of a true propagandist."
“And his behavior reminds me of a conversation I had with a political office in the mid-1980s when I was an air attaché to Bulgaria,” he continued.
“I asked this officer what truth was to him,” Hayden said. “He responded without hesitation, ‘Truth is what serves the party.’ And there you have it.”
Hayden was responding to a Hannity tweet on Friday praising WikiLeaks under the hashtag #freejulianassange and #freeinternet.
In addition to Hannity, Hayden also attacked Fox News in its coverage of the current president and the Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE.
“FOX News has almost entirely jumped the shark,” Hayden told Wittles, who tweeted the email out Sunday evening. “They have given up any semblance of conservatism and focused on an almost visceral hatred of all things Clinton and Obama.”
Hayden did note a few exceptions to his perspective on the network.
“There are a few points of light and Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Meghan (sic) Kelly,” he wrote.
Hayden is a four-star general who has served in high-ranking positions in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. He has said he will not endorse either Clinton or Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE for president.
Wittles also offered to debate Hannity on WikiLeaks and Russia's possible involvement with the group.
Wittles is also editor-in-chief of the blog Lawfare.