Hayden says fewer than 100 agents would have leaked information, president could get names.
President Donald Trump could track down the leakers in the federal government who spilled highly classified information to the media last month, said former CIA Director Michael Hayden Thursday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham asked Hayden to quantify the number of intelligence officials who would have access to the sensitive information that has leaked to the media since Trump took office.
“The audit trail is documented.”
“Mid-range, two figures,” said Hayden. “And the audit trail is documented.”
Asked by Ingraham to confirm he meant fewer than 100 individuals, Hayden said “yes.”
By “audit trail,” Hayden means extensive paperwork showing who had access to certain classified information. Hayden noted Congress has asked the administration for the audit trails.
Ingraham said the president has the authority to ask how many federal agents have access to the information used in the leaks.
The leaks were aimed at former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who neglected to mention he had spoken with the Russian ambassador in late December.
Someone leaked that information to the media in February, having apparently “unmasked” Flynn. U.S. citizens are supposed to be protected in the incidental recording of foreign agents. The unmasking of Flynn is an extra step in the intelligence community, and shows a high level of access to classified information and to spying procedures.
Hayden said unmasking an American is “fairly routine” within the intel community, in research reports where the need to analyze the data becomes crucial. But Hayden said the leaking to the public was wrong and unusual.
“Pushing the data into the public domain, that’s different,” said Hayden.
Despite the surveillance of Flynn in December, Hayden said he is skeptical of Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped during the 2016 presidential campaign. He also said President Obama could not have ordered a tap on Trump.
“The plumbing does not work that way,” said Hayden. “It’s got to be a court, a judge, probable cause, and so on.”
Hayden said any wiretapping that affected the Trump campaign could have been the incidental wiretapping of a Russian figure, such as an “Russian oligarch.” If a Trump associates came across such a figure, they could have been wiretapped, Hayden said.