Former CIA director Gen. Michael V. Hayden on Friday expressed "confidence and trust" in the agency's acting director, Michael Morell, and said he did not expect the rest of the world to view the resignation of Gen. David Petraeus as a sign of confusion or weakness in the U.S. intelligence operation.
"That's an internal American story," Gen. Hayden said of Gen. Petraeus' resignation. "This is will have far more impact domestically than it will overseas."
Gen. Hayden, who served as CIA director under President George W. Bush before turning the reins over to Leon Panetta in 2009 at the start of President Barack Obama's administration, learned of the resignation Friday afternoon after addressing students and professors at Duquesne University on the topic of global security. A student in the auditorium started the question-and-answer session by asking Gen. Hayden if he was aware of the development.
"I knew something was going on because my cell phone was going crazy," he said. "And last night, there was a perceptible disturbance in the force."
Gen. Hayden said he knows Mr. Morell, who has been named interim CIA director, and trusts his ability to take the helm of the agency.
"Michael was Leon Panetta's No. 2 and he became Gen. Petraeus' No. 2. Prior to that, he was my No. 3. He was President George W. Bush's [daily briefer]. And on the morning of Sept. 11, he was on the plane with the president. So, here's somebody who can step up and send out the message: Steady as she goes, quiet in the ranks."
Dan Majors: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1456.