Former CIA Chief: Trump’s Withdrawal From The Open Skies Treaty “Is Insane”
General Michael Hayden, who served as head of the CIA under former President George W. Bush, described President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty as “insane,” according to The Hill.
Writing on Twitter, Hayden said of the move: “This is insane. I was the director of CIA.”
His comment was in response to a member of George Conway’s anti-Trump Lincoln Project.
The Hill reported that a senior Trump administration official and a Senate aide confirmed that Trump intends to exit the major arms control agreement, a decision first reported by The New York Times.
The Open Skies Treaty “allows the signatories to fly unarmed observation flights over each other to prevent miscalculations that could escalate to war.”
However, the State Department concluded last year that Russia was in “continued violation of the Treaty on Open Skies,” The Hill reported.
Marshall Billingslea, the president’s new special representative for arms control, told The Times: “You reach a point at which you need to say enough is enough. The United States cannot keep participating in this treaty if Russia is going to violate it with impunity.”
Regardless, the move was criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on Thursday, “with some saying the treaty allows the U.S. to support its allies and have access to unclassified images,” according to The Hill.
“Republicans, especially ones representing Nebraska, where the military planes used to conduct the flights are based, have expressed support for the treaty,” the publication added.