Ex-CIA chief slams Obama Afghan plan as 'dangerous'

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden called President Obama's plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan "dangerous" on Wednesday, and warned that it could lead to the same outcome now seen in Iraq.

“I think it’s fairly dangerous,” said Hayden, who is also a former National Security Agency director, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Going to zero in Iraq did not lead to a happy outcome. Now he’s committed to the same thing in Afghanistan,” Hayden said.


Obama announced Tuesday he would reduce the U.S. presence this year in Afghanistan to fewer than 10,000 troops before bringing all but embassy security home by the end of 2016.

Republicans have criticized the Obama administration for pulling all troops out of Iraq in 2011. They claimed this hastened al Qaeda's resurgence in that country.

Hayden said Obama's announced numbers are “OK” but said, “it’s probably on the low end” from his point of view and the military’s.

The former NSA director criticized Obama’s decision to set deadlines without waiting for the new Afghan government to form.

“This is a timetable and it’s not based on conditions on the ground,” he said. “We lose all leverage in negotiations with the new Afghan president,” who will likely be selected in a mid-June runoff election.

Hayden said he doesn’t argue with Obama’s plan to pull back the U.S. combat mission, but added the U.S. must maintain a military presence there to provide “confidence” to the new Afghan government.

“I think it’s a burden the American military can stand,” he said.

Hayden served as NSA director from 1999 until 2005 and CIA director from 2006 until 2009.