President Barack Obama's response to Russian hacking was "too timid," according to former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden, but he says he partly understands why Obama did it.
"I think the decision he made was made for honorable reasons. He did not want to be or appear to be manipulating our election internally. But I think when you look at this from a broader field of view, we were too timid," Hayden said Monday on "CBS This Morning."
"He should have done more. He should have been more forceful, more public, and more public pushing back on what the Russians were doing. I think in retrospect, we let this go too far, for too long."
While Hayden agreed that cyber issues are a concern, in this case, he said Donald Trump's transition team appears to be focusing on the bigger issue of cyber attacks, not that Russia was involved in perpetrating them
"This was not at its heart a cyber problem. This was a Russia problem. This was not an isolated incident from the Russian Federation," Hayden said.
"What I did not get from the transition team was a seriousness or an acceptance that we do indeed have a problem overall with the pattern of Russia behavior. We just pushed it over here into the well-known cyber thing," Hayden said.
Instead of the incoming administration saying what they're going to do about cyber, Hayden said, "I want to know what we're going to do about Russia."
About whether the hacking affected votes, Hayden said, "It's not just not known, it's unknowable through intelligence techniques."
Hayden broke down the findings of the intelligence agencies' report on Russian hacks, and noted his surprise at their results.
"I was quite stunned that the community at large with high confidence [said] the Russians did this, they did this to erode confidence in our processes, they preferred to punish Secretary [Hillary] Clinton, they then shifted as the campaign went on and became a bit more successful, they began to prefer President-elect Trump. And then all three major agencies — although only one with moderate confidence, the other two had high confidence — concluded that they were actually moving in the direction of helping him win. That is a stunning summary."
The former CIA director said that the Obama administration should have acted earlier, and pointed out that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell refused to join in the consensus view about Russia's actions.
"Without bipartisan consensus to push back, President Obama basically kept his powder dry. I think that was an incorrect decision, but I understand it."
Hayden also commented on the intelligence report on Saturday, in a CNN interview. He urged the U.S. to have faith in the intelligence community.
"The criticism of the intelligence community's judgments on this issues has been that the community is incompetent and politicized and prejudiced and that's simply not right," he said.
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