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The ‘wicked problem’ that scares Gen. Michael Hayden

Michael Hayden is a retired four-star Air Force General who led the NSA and CIA in the war on terrorism. (KIRO Radio)

He’s a retired four-star Air Force general. He’s led the CIA, NSA and tackled terrorism in a post-911 world. And now Gen. Michael Hayden is extremely critical of President Donald Trump.

Related: Should our national security advisor watch Fox News?

What scares Hayden the most about America’s security is not in Washington D.C., Syria, or south of the border. It’s a threat that affects Seattle more than many other parts of the country.

“One of the things coming at us … are the North Koreans,” Hayden told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “I’ve famously written, to be provocative, that by the end of this term for Mr. Trump, North Korea will be able to reach this city, as in Seattle, with an indigenously-produced (intercontinental ballistic missile).”

“Mr. Trump is being handed a wicked problem that none of his successors have been able to solve or even significantly slow down,” he said. “He’s going to have to make a choice.”

Hayden on North Korea and Seattle

It’s such insights into American intelligence that Gen. Hayden imparts in his recently-published book, “Playing to the Edge.” And he’s not alone in his concern. Hayden notes that William Perry (Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton), and Ash Carter (Secretary of Defense under President Barack Obama) have made the same assertions about North Korea.

“What would make me really scared?” Hayden said. “… I could understand how a president might feel he was boxed into that corner … these crazy people are going to be able to reach this city.”

Hayden is not entirely doom and gloom about North Korea and the threat it poses to the United States. While the country led by Kim Jong-Un is expected to have the capability to reach the United States with a missile, there’s more to it than just that.

“Now look, they are going to have trouble with miniaturization, fusing, separation — I get it,” Hayden said. “It’s probably a low probability shot. But when I ask my friends in Seattle, ‘What kind of odds are you comfortable with?’ Obviously, the answer is not very high.”

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

About the Author

Dyer Oxley

Dyer Oxley joined the MyNorthwest.com team in April 2015. He graduated from Portland State University and has worked as a reporter in the Puget Sound region since 2011. Email Dyer at roxley@mynorthwest.com

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