Former CIA chief Hayden slams Biden's Libya assessment

Former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden has joined the chorus of GOP voices slamming Vice President Biden's comments on the White House's inconsistent explanation of the Sept. 11 assault on the American Consulate in Libya.

During Thursday's vice presidential debate, Biden placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. intelligence community for its initial claims the attack in Benghazi was the result of a anti-American protest gone awry. 


“The intelligence community told us that,” Biden said. “As they learned more facts about exactly what happened, they changed their assessment.” 

“Look, if we are hit by terrorists, we are going to call it for what it is: a terrorist attack," Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 No time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power MORE (W-Wisc.) shot back during Thursday's debate. 

Weeks after the attack, which ended in the deaths of four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, the administration admitted the assault was a coordinated strike by Libyan extremists. 

Hayden, who led the CIA for three years under the George W. Bush White House, said the administration had no one to blame but itself for its flawed explanation of the Benghazi attack. 

"It is clear that any failure was not on the part of the intelligence community, but on the part of White House decision-makers who should have listened to, and acted on, available intelligence," Hayden said in a joint statement with former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff issued Friday. 

"Blaming those who put their lives on the line is not the kind of leadership this country needs," Hayden added. 

Hayden told The Hill in September the Libya strike looked “more planned, more intentional” than the violent protest that erupted at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on the same day. 

Benghazi, Hayden noted, at the time, is home to the al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). 

If the attack against the American consulate in Benghazi was carried out by the LIFG, it would be akin to “playing basketball on [their] home court,” the former CIA chief said. 

“This [would be] really a home game” for them, Hayden said, given the group’s ability to quickly organize operations in the region. “And lord knows they’re extremely motivated.” 

The former CIA chief's comments on Friday echoed those coming from the Romney campaign and top Republicans on Capitol Hill in the hours after the debate. 

"Vice President Biden tonight continued the administration’s pattern of misleading the American people about events in Libya,” Romney campaign adviser Dan Senor said in a Thursday statement. 

“We need leaders who will be truthful with the American people and who are informed about vital issues of national security," he added. 

Former GOP presidential hopeful and House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said shortly Biden's commets will continue to "haunt" the Obama campaign up to Election Day.