May 11th, 2013
05:28 PM ET

Hayden: We have to live with some level of risk

Fareed speaks with former CIA Director Michael Hayden about the terrorist threat to the United States. Watch GPS special ‘Beyond the Manhunts: How to Stop Terror’ this Sunday at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET.

Al Qaeda may be battered, but there's a new threat out there – the lone wolf. One person, or a small group, self-radicalized and determined to kill. In other words, Boston. The CIA and FBI are, of course, working hard to stop the next would-be bombers. But what exactly are they looking for? How do you track a shadow, someone harboring extremist tendencies quietly? Someone who might turn violent but isn't yet? The former director of the CIA General Michael Hayden says the United States is continually calibrating the balance between freedom and security.

I put my arm out and say now, this is what we're doing for you now in terms of security and the intelligence community, the defense community and frankly, we've made those attacks up here, the ones that were very punishing and about which we were very fearful – 9/11, World Trade Center I, the airliner plot over the Atlantic – we’ve made them very, very unlikely. And now we’ve got these, these one-off kind of attacks, like Boston, like Najibullah Zazi, going to New York, like the drive-by shooting in Little Rock. And I ask American audiences, what do you want me to do with my hand? Because I can actually push it down a little bit. I don't know how much more safety I'll buy you, but there will be some more safety.

But how much more of your commerce, your privacy or your convenience do you want me to squeeze for a marginal increase in safety? And as a citizen, as an intelligence professional, I'll follow the guidance of the republic. But as a citizen, I'm thinking, my hand is about at the right place now. I don't know that we need to do a whole lot more. Now, the secret within that is that sooner or later, some of this stuff is going to happen – and we all have to recognize that there is going to be a margin of risk that we're going to have to live with now.

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Topics: GPS Show • Terrorism

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. matslats

    Wow its just like the conspiracy theorists say. We have to have a common enemy, otherwise we might just unite and throw off the rich. This was even the case for the war of Independence according to that well known conspiracy manual "A people's history of the United States"
    How is it possible to win so many wars and still live in fear?

    May 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  2. sand

    people are just angry because there is no possibility of any war any longer its a sunset industry no body is going to start any war any longer in a university educated world. when people are reading paul krugmans book about international economics and jared diamonds book about global history and all the other unversity books about philosophy then nobody is going to start any trouble its a totally different age we live in its not like the feudal system of the middle ages when the vassals got a piece of land called len and keeped people working on it as slaves for a trade for protection and he got that land from the king in return for military support this system got introduced during carl the king of france during the middle ages to repel the arabs from europe

    May 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply
    • Dean Johnson

      you are completely wrong though. in WWII Germany had one of the highest proportions of university educated students. The USSR's bolshevik's were led by Lenin, a lawyer and other college buddies. Your thought is nice but the notion that atheism and education can make war go away like a fairy is such a lie. for example, Stalin was an atheist but had more people killed then Hitler (who believed in old Norse gods and his own lies) or Mao in China, a bright college educated young atheist in China.
      So basically no matter what faith or degree, people can still be more horrible than one can imagine

      May 13, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Reply
      • ProLogic

        It's very hard to not agree to your reasoning, since it is proven in the past and stands as facts today.
        But my point is – what exactly religion is doing to people to help stop the same sort of horrible things aethist or semi or non-believers did? If there is no significant difference, then isn't it meaningless to falsely claimsuperiority of one over the other? Just wondering ... I am not remotely religious, but neither anti-religious. My simple philosophy is that – oneis never oblized to respect others religion or faith, but as civilized people, we should seriously strive to respect others RIGHT to believe and follow whatever she/he wants to follow, as long as that doesn't start creating serious and tangible problem for others in the society. Not too much to ask I guess!

        May 14, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  3. kamal taori

    What happened to the comments I sent?

    May 11, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Reply
    • rightospeak

      They probably vanished into the cyberspace without a trace, kamal – the Thought Police at CNN probably were afraid that the readers may get too much truth and stop believing their b.s.

      May 12, 2013 at 11:30 am | Reply
  4. Chukwuemeka

    Fareed my earlier comment is not offensive, why is it missing?

    May 12, 2013 at 3:14 am | Reply
    • rightospeak

      It does not fall in with the CNN propaganda, Chukwuemeka-that is the usual reason

      May 12, 2013 at 11:26 am | Reply
  5. Jim Thomas .

    Who is funding our enemies. We cannot capture all of our enemies. However, we can stop the funding. Which countries and banks are funding our enemies. This would make a great program. "Funding Our Enemies".

    May 12, 2013 at 10:29 am | Reply
  6. Heinz

    We do not wanna say that the C.I.A. is not right, but we probably already know who the "lone wolf" is. It is the "Koreans group", representing the South Korean Capital. To stop terrorism U.S.A. should be careful done business with Asian Big Capital.

    May 12, 2013 at 10:33 am | Reply
  7. charles tulloh

    Perhaps, while asking what more the intelligence communities could be doing to make us "safe" (however that may be defined), we ought to be asking how the citizenry could participate in the process. Crowdsourcing/big data, whatever you might call it. An informed and aware populace is bound to be safer.

    May 12, 2013 at 10:50 am | Reply
  8. rightospeak

    After watching Mr. Hayden I am getting the impression that he may be one of the few moral men we have. What is not being said is the fact that the biggest terrorist in the world is our own leadership. They use the phoney "War On Terror" to terrorize Americans.
    In recent years our leadership managed to create the Image of the U.S. as the evil empire – corrupt, immoral (torture, barbarism in Libya ), playing God among nations violating International Law . The real danger to American citizens is from endless and useless wars that is antagonizing more than half the globe. The US is on the road to self implosion as if by design. We lost industrial base and with it jobs, the TV programming has become garbage, the media spews out mostly propaganda- why is that not discussed ? Our own politicians are scary, more so that the imaginary terrorists from Muslim countries.
    9/11 was a hoax to get us terrorized and in a war with the Muslim World.

    May 12, 2013 at 11:48 am | Reply
  9. Reason

    Here are some points to consider regarding the current state of global terrorism:
    1- One of the initial motivating needs for terror was a desperate need to be recognized, respected and included by "the West" specifically Europe and America. Its implications of Islam are quite secondary.
    2- Regarding the recent acts of local and global terror, the perpetrators (especially the young men) carry similar underlying psychological deficits as those of the 9/11 terrorists. They need to be recognized, respected and included, in the this case by their local American communities.

    I am very doubtful that Arabic/Islamic terrorism has much to do with the practice, mandate etc. of Islam. I was born and raised in a home with Muslims in my household in a society where Christians and Muslims lived closely and in harmony. The current state of attempts at radicalizing the youth not withstanding.

    Interestingly enough, it now looks like among the immigrant circles in North America, being from the Middle East & /or Muslim is now so fashionable that young people are trying to somehow affiliate themselves... Lets teach our children that they good and OK enough just as God made them !!!!!


    May 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  10. Brien Holmes

    More of the tired strategy: if we say it often enough, it will be true.

    Al Qaeda has always been a small dysfunctional group of individuals with incredible media sense.

    "Terrorism" is a term now tossed around so freely as to be meaningless. Given its popular usage, Israel and the US are the world's leaders of (state) terrorism (drones, kidnapping, incarceration without trial, etc etc etc).

    Take a look at the amount of money the US government has spent combating "terrorism" since 9/11 and you can begin to understand why conspiracy crackpots have such an easy time inventing incredible explanations for everything that goes on each day. I can imagine Eisenhower rolling in his grave as this military industrial complex salivates at the fertile field.

    The world would have more respect for the US if the people of the US just admitted this is an anti-Islam fight and be prepared for the hate and destruction US foreign policy instigates.

    May 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Reply
  11. j. von hettlingen

    A Tunisian citizen has been held in New York for being part of the plot to derail a Toronto-to-New York passenger train. He was trying to obtain a U.S. work visa so he could help carry out terrorist attacks in this country and had in mind to release bacteria into the air or the water supply "in order to kill up to 100,000 people.

    May 13, 2013 at 9:59 am | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      How do we know whether these charges were true or just trumped up against this man, j. von hettlingen? Never put anything past the C.I.A.!

      May 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  12. Tddaycomment

    The Boston Bomber was flagged by the Russian government, in fact it appears he had been flagged a couple of times. He was a radical Muslim. Muslims themselves are concerned about radical Islam. This wasn't just some guy who just decided by himself to create bombs. Look at what Muslims themselves are saying:

    PEW Research April 2013
    “At least half of Muslims in 22 of the 36 countries where the question was asked say they are at least somewhat concerned about religious extremist groups in their country,” the report reads. “In most countries, Muslims are much more worried about Islamic extremists than Christian extremists.”

    Concern over Muslims extremism was at its highest in Indonesia, Iraq and Guinea Bissau, where over 45% of Muslims said they were either very or somewhat concerned about violence in the name of Islam.

    May 13, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Reply
  13. Pete

    Well, I guess US invented Terrorism an economic system that is now an inherent part of American life...

    May 14, 2013 at 11:57 am | Reply
  14. Sol Deus

    It is not security that is being bought, but the illusion of security with the real loss of liberties. Life can be dangerous at times. And I would add that the odds of being killed in a car accident are much, much higher than any terrorist act. We should not seek out slavery from the state to fight off imagined thrones of boogeyman terrorists.

    May 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Reply

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