In this episode of the MWI podcast, Capt. Jake Miraldi talks to retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. Hayden discusses the relationship between intelligence and command at the tactical level on the battlefield. He also explains the role of intelligence in combating modern threats like terrorism: “We’ve got the combat power to stop just about anybody—if we can find them. And it now becomes the intelligence function that is actually the critical function in American operational success.”

Hayden says that the digital age has changed the intelligence function, explaining that we’ve gone from a world in which information was “too little and too hard to get” to one in which it is “too much and too hard to understand.” With social media, he goes on, the US intelligence community has gotten good at tracking what’s going on, but the challenge now is to use it to anticipate what will happen.

Hayden was at West Point to speak to cadets (watch the video of his talk here) and for a screening of the Showtime documentary “Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs.”


Editor’s note: If the player on this page does not work for you, you can also click here to listen on iTunes.



Gen. (Ret) Michael Hayden, USAF, was director of NSA from 1999 to 2005 and director of CIA from 2006 to 2009. He is the author of the book Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror.


Image credit: Senior Airman Clayton Cupit, US Air Force