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The Assault on Intelligence

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The Assault on Intelligence

American National Security in an Age of Lies

Penguin Press,

15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Rejecting national security advisers’ expertise places America’s safety in peril.

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Background
  • Insider's Take


The United States’ democratic journey has reached a crossroads: Will it continue to abide by its founders’ Enlightenment values, esteeming facts and rational decision making, or will the country turn toward a post-truth future marked by falsehoods and deception? In this eye-opening book, veteran national security expert and retired US Air Force general Michael Hayden reviews the Trump Administration’s first two years. He offers a compelling analysis of how certain events and decisions, both domestic and foreign policy-related, have and might continue to place America’s safety and liberty in peril. 


The post-truth era found its perfect example in Donald Trump.

How did America arrive at such a troubling point in its history? With Donald Trump’s election in 2016, the nation veered into an alternative reality in which huge swaths of the American electorate believe lies and hoaxes. For example, the new president accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of bugging his office. Trump is a product of the post-truth era, in which fake news, uninformed decision making, know-nothing nativism and sophisticated disinformation tactics undermine American democracy and international security. Enlightenment Age values and ideals, a reliance on facts and evidence-based critical thinking, the rule of law, and egalitarianism have all diminished.

Trump was the right man at the right time. He seized the advantage offered by preexisting cracks in citizens’ confidence in their leaders, government, economy and exceptionalism. Americans feared they were “losers”; Trump promised to make them winners again. All they had to do was leave things to him, and to trust and believe him. Millions of...

About the Author

Retired US Air Force general Michael Hayden led two of the United States’ national security agencies and founded the Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy and International Security at George Mason University.

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