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Outspoken Trump critic Michael Hayden defended President Trump's pick to succeed Mike Pompeo as head of the Central Intelligence Agency. 

The former CIA director -- who has advised former colleagues not to work under the president -- touted the choice of Gina Haspel despite her past operational roles in torture. 

"With a president who does not always attach his decisions to the real world, to data, to evidence, Gina Haspel is the one woman I want in that room," Hayden said.

"When everyone else will be going into north-south auto-bob and saying, 'You're right, boss,' Gina Haspel won't."


Hayden has harshly critiqued Trump in his new book, "The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies." He also said in a recent interview that it has been difficult for him to watch top officials under Trump defend the president.

“The longer they were in the administration, the more their personal credentials were being threatened,” he said.

“At what point do you stop being a guardrail and become an enabler and a legitimizer?”

The president on Monday defended Haspel, touting her as "the most qualified person" for the role. He said that Haspel's credentials have come under fire because she was "too tough on terrorists."

Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) echoed Trump's sentiments on "Happening Now."

"I think Gina Haspel is the best-prepared person ever to be nominated for this job," he said.

"You've got to look really hard to come up with some reason why you wouldn't want this person to be confirmed to head the CIA," he added.

Watch more above.


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