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Interview with Michael Hayden; Interview with Bishop Michael Curry. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired May 21, 2018 - 14:00:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNNI: Tonight: tough talk on Iran. The U.S. Secretary of State vows to crush the country unless it changes its

behavior. But can the United States do that alone? Or is the region headed for another military confrontation?

I'm joined by the former head of the National Security Agency and the CIA, Michael Hayden, whose blistering new book " The Assault on Intelligence"

takes a sobering view of the Trump Presidency.

Plus he is the African American Bishop who stole the show at the Royal Wedding. Bishop Michael Curry on this historic sermon, and what the

reaction says about Britain, the Royal Family, and the church.

Good evening, everyone. And welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

The Trump administration has stepped up its attempts to strangle Iran, re- imposing U.S. Sanctions while holding out the offer of a new treaty and reestablishing diplomatic ties that were broken back in 1979.

All of that, though, in return for a list of tough new demands. In his first major speech, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, today piled

the pressure on what he called Iran's malign behaviors, two weeks after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Secretary Pompeo said Iran could only get sanctions relief if it agrees to 12 more demands, including pulling his forces out of Syria, ending support

for rebels in Yemen, halting development of ballistic missiles, and zero uranium enrichment. Within hours the Iranian president fired back, saying

no one would accept the United States deciding on behalf of the whole world. Indeed, the U.S. wants the backing of its European allies. But

Pompeo seems to acknowledge that will be tough.


MIKE POMPEO, US SECRETARY OF STATE: We understand that our re-imposition of sanctions and the common pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will

pose financial and economic difficulties for a number of our friends.

I know that they may decide to try and keep their old nuclear deal going with Iran. That is certainly their decision to make. They know where we



AMANPOUR: The EU is working hard to try to protect European firms doing business in Iran under the terms of that deal. This was European Council

Donald Tusk last week.


DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: We are witnessing today a new phenomenon, the capricious assertiveness of the American

administration. Looking at the latest decisions of Presidents Trump, someone could even think, with friends like that, who needs enemies?


AMANPOUR: Tough words. And here now to help us through all of this, the former Director of the CIA and NSA Michael Hayden. His new book is "The

Assault on Intelligence". And he joins me now from Washington.

General Hayden welcome back to our program.


AMANPOUR: So you heard Secretary Pompeo. You know Iran has been complying with that deal. Do you see a strategy in the U.S. position right now, an

actual strategy?

HAYDEN: Well I'm beginning to see the outlines of Plan B. Now look, when we started it, the Iran nuclear deal Plan A, I had my complaints. But

after it was put in place my view and frankly, Christiane, of American intelligence was that Iran was further away from a weapon with the - with

the agreement. We knew more about the program with the agreement. And as you said Iran wasn't cheating.

But we ripped up Plan A, and now I've been waiting for Plan B. We've begun to get the outlines of Plan B with clearly what was a set of maximalist

demands, including just about everything we think the Iranians are doing, in with the nuclear portfolio as well.

And so I just don't know whether we could achieve those, with Iran still being Iran, and perhaps a hidden meaning. That's the hidden meaning of the

secretary's speech.

AMANPOUR: So the hidden meaning, if I can read through your lines, is that this is an attempt ,that Plan B is to break Iran, one way or the other,

thinking that they can do that, or potentially a sort of a military Plan B.

HAYDEN: Well, I hope it doesn't come to a military Plan B. And the secretary didn't suggest that, except if the Iranians try to break out and

move in the direction of a weapon. What he wants to do is impose crushing economic sanctions on Iran, and therein lies the problem.

We've got the goals Christiane for Plan B. Now the means, the means would be sanctions. But they'd have to be more or less universal sanctions.

We had that to get the original deal, I think it's going to be very difficult for us to get that with regard to this deal, not only because of

the economic interests of our, particularly, European friends, but I don't know that they buy in to our ultimate maximalist objectives.

AMANPOUR: And just to be clear, you recall the original -- when Obama and even before him -- started to ramp up the pressure on Iran. Those were the

maximalist global sanctions --

HAYDEN: Correct.

AMANPOUR: -- including China, Russia, Europe. I mean everybody was involved, I mean how much more maximalist can you get?

HAYDEN: Well, again I think he wants to return to those - those kinds of crushing sanctions, which did get the Iranians to the table. But I just

think its going to be - look, the Obama administration got to that by narrowing its front and putting all international energy in a commonly-

agreed objective, which was the Iranian nuclear program.

Now we are widening our front, with regard to our objectives, and now we're expecting to get as much allies and international support. Again, I'm

beginning to see the outlines of the plan.

But this is a really heavy lift. And Christiane, what we may have done is further destabilize the situation in the Persian Gulf, setting in motion

events that might be hard to project, let along control.

AMANPOUR: And General Hayden, setting in motion also what looks to be a confrontation with its closets allies, the Europeans. The threat of

secondary, you know sanctions on European businesses who may continue to try to do business. Europe trying to go around this sort of existing

methods and loopholes they can use to refuse to comply with U.S. sanctions. It just looks like he's also, President Trump, picking a fight with his

closest allies, when he needs them the most if he is to put these sanctions regime back again.

HAYDEN: I - I think that's absolutely correct. It went from plan A, we got political agreement on the sanctions from our European allies. I think

it was very clear what Secretary Pompeo said this morning here in Washington is that we are going to coerce our European allies simply by

denying companies' access to the American economy.

That may be transitionally successful in the short-term, but relationally, I think it would be very, very harmful for the transatlantic relationships.

AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you before I go on to this new relationship, what would a military confrontation with Iran look like, for the United States,

the region, the world?

HAYDEN: Boy, that's a very open-ended question. Now look, I am very much in support about -- against the Iranians -- pushing back against the

Iranians for what they're doing in Iraq, in Syria with regard to Hezbollah, and in Yemen.

And so I could see using American power and influence and resources there to push what really is Iranian ascendance in all of those regions backward,

I get that.

But when it came in the Bush administration, which is a bit dated now, Christiane, but in the Bush administration, there were no easy answers with

regard to a military confrontation with regard to Iran, even on the narrowly-focused nuclear question.

Bob Gates, former Secretary of Defense, used to say, a preemptive strike against the Iranian nuclear program win guarantee that which we're trying

to prevent -- an Iran that will stop at nothing to get a nuclear weapon.

AMANPOUR: Can I move on to - to your new book and the whole idea of reinforcing American intelligence, American democracy. And I just want to

- you know, your book focuses on the disdain for the truth and for doing -- what it's doing to intelligence.

I wonder whether you noticed what the former Secretary of State said about this very issue during a commencement speech last week. Let's listen.


REX TILLERSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that

are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.

When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth, even on what may seem the most trivial of matters, we go wobbly on America.


AMANPOUR: So Secretary Tillerson is just one of a number of prominent people using this theme right now. And it is the theme of your book as

well. I'll read a quote in a moment, but what do you think of what he said?

HAYDEN: You know, Christiane, when I - when I heard it, I - I had the thought that that's a better summary of the book than I have been giving,

in my - in my book tour. It is exactly the heart of the book.

Now look, to be fair, we - the big we, I think British and American society -- a bit in a post truth era, post truth defined as decision based on --

less on evidence and data, more on preference, emotion, feeling, loyalty, tribe, and grievance. And that creates great stress, Christiane, which you

must be feeling as well for fact-based institutions like intelligence, law enforcement, and journalism. Where do they go in the national discussion

if we aren't suing facts as the basis for our decisions?

AMANPOUR: Yes. We certainly all do feel it, and it's a big battle to keep that ship of facts on the straight and narrow. And I want to read from

what you wrote recently in the New York Times about this.

"We in the intelligence world have dealt with obstinate and argumentative presidents throughout the years, but we have never served a president for

whom ground truth really doesn't matter."

They're - these are truly uncharted waters for the country. We have in the past argued over the values to be applied to objective reality, or

occasionally over what constituted objective reality, but never the existence or relevance of objective reality itself."

What has this done to the intelligence community?

HAYDEN: Well, it's given it an additional burden. Now look, all presidents are different. We in intelligence have to accommodate to the

president or the prime minister. All right, we have to learn how he learns, present things in his way, follow his priorities. But we always

were talking with someone who seemed to be departing from a view of objective reality, and I don't think that's a common case often in this


A very quick example, Christiane, I relate in the book where an American newsman is pressing the president on why he believes Barack Obama

wiretapped Trump Tower. Evidence, Mr. President. Facts, evidence. The president got very irritated and responded, "a lot of people agree with me.

People are saying - a lot of people are saying," In other words if I can make it popular or trending, it's real and I can use it as a basis for my

action. That's the tension that I try to describe, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: And certainly it must worry you. It certainly worries me as a journalist and it has to worry just about everybody, that - some of that

spirit was around during the George W. Bush presidency, where they had their own facts about intelligence and the rest, and there was a war that

happened because of that, the Iraq war. And we're still reaping the terrible backlash and the blowback from that. Why are memories so short?

HAYDEN: Well, again, I was in the Bush administration, and for the one question with regards of weapons of mass destruction, let me throw myself

on the mercy of the court. I was part of the team that strongly believed and advised the president that Iraq had that, but that was, turns out, to

have been based on information that was simply not true. Now, if you're basing decisions, as I fear we often do today, without even a reference to

that which might be objectively true, you simply increase your odds of actually heading in the wrong direction almost astronomically.

AMANPOUR: Michael Hayden, thank you so much. Your book comes at a very, very timely moment. Thanks for joining us this evening.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And now from the world of tough politics to the power of love, here the U.K. is still swooning over the royal wedding and the incredible

infusion of black culture and American flare into a very traditional service. There was the Gospel Kingdom Choir raising the rafters with Stand

By Me.


But it was Bishop Michael Curry's address that really shook things up for royals and celebrities who filled St. George's Chapel at Windsor.

BISHOP MICHAEL CURRY: Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial, and in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of

unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives. And it can change this world.


AMANPOUR: Some of the royal family perhaps look a little bemused, but many here and tweeters all over the world are still raving about Curry's

electrifying and oh, so different address. He was born in Chicago, raised in New York. The 65-year old bishop, Michael Curry, is head of the

American Episcopal Church, and I'm delighted to say that he joins me live now from the Chapel of Christ Our Lord in the Church Center in New York

Welcome to the program, Bishop.

BISHOP MICHAEL CURRY, AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Thank you very much. Good to be with you.

AMANPOUR: I just don't know, I mean did you think that your address would spark so much amazement and appreciation all over the world?

CURRY: In all honesty, I just had no idea. I really didn't. When I finished the sermon, I sat down and I remember thinking to myself, I hope

it was OK.

AMANPOUR: Well, at one point I remember you - you may be thinking that you may have diverged a bit, maybe adlibbed a bit. You said something like you

know, we got to get you all married.

CURRY: That was sort of a last transition point. I was aware that it was about time to wrap it up. And so I was asking permission, give me another


AMANPOUR: Well, you know we're going to talk about this. But the theme was the enduring Power Of love, the transformative power of love.

But I want to know how it came to be that you were giving the address? Were you specifically asked by the couple; did they talk to you about what

they wanted to hear? Did you talk to them?

CURRY: No, they made the decision but they arrived at their decision and consultation with the archbishop of Canterbury, with the dean of St.

George's Chapel. And I'm sure they consulted with others, but that - when they had completed their kind of consultation and thought, and once they

had made their decision, then I received a phone call from the archbishop of Canterbury.

AMANPOUR: And have you met them, Megan and Harry? Have you met them for a - for a period of time --

CURRY: At the wedding--

AMANPOUR: Yes, yes.

CURRY: At the wedding, yes. Yes, they did their premarital counseling and work and planning of the service with the archbishop, and planning of the

service with the dean of the chapel there.

AMANPOUR: Well you know, so many --

CURRY: What they gave me - I'll tell you what they gave me.

AMANPOUR: Go ahead.

CURRY: No, I was going to tell you what they really gave me was -- was a selection of the bible passage that we used, the Song of Solomon, that was

their choice. And it was a significant choice. They had a wide variety of scriptures that they could've selected.

But in selecting that one, whether they were aware of it or not, that lead me to the sermon that actually got preached, because it's a fabulous text.

That - I mean it's a part of the bible that people may or may not have read.

It's part of wisdom literature in the Hebrew Scriptures. And it actually is love poetry between a man and a woman in the bible. And they express

their love for each other throughout the book.

And then in the eighth chapter near the end, the woman actually senses their love between the two of them is part of a greater love that has

another source. And that's where the text and the whole flow of that sermon came from the selection of the bible passage by the royal couple


AMANPOUR: Yes, it was really amazing. And honestly, we've never seen a royal wedding like this. We've never seen this amount of diversity, this

amount of sort of raising the rafters, and sort of a simplicity also and a similar - very, very modern.

Megan Markle didn't play down; she played up her African American roots. And you also referred to Martin Luther King and many others in American

culture and history.

I just want to play a little snippet of what you said about the transformative power of love.


CURRY: Imagine this title world, when love is - is the way. When love is the way, unselfish, sacreficial, redemptive -- when love is the way, then

no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again.

When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. When love is the way,

poverty will become history.


AMANPOUR: That - that's very powerful to - that's very powerful imagery Bishop Curry to bring up there in front of the elites, in front of the

whitest of white families. What were you thinking as you said all that?

CURRY: You know, I was honestly thinking that if we could - well as Teilhard de Chardin said, who I quoted at the end, if we could just harness

the real power of love, we can actually change and transform this world.

That was - that was what was driving me. And I'm convinced that that's the case. I mean that really is what Jesus of Nazareth was talking about, what

he was really getting at and what he was willing to die for, to sacrifice himself

Because this love is not a kind of sentimental thing, although it can be sentimental. There's nothing wrong with that. But at its root, this love

is a sacrificial way that seeks the good and well-being of others, sometimes even above and beyond ones own self interest. That's the kind of

love that a Gandhi was talking about in creating a nonviolent way that freed a country, the kind of love that Desmond Tutu - another Anglican -- a

Desmond Tutu, a Nelson Mandela, a Steven Biko, helping to create a South Africa with the possibility of being a land for all.

Obviously Dr. Martin Luther King, a Francis of Assisi, I would dare say the Holy Father himself. I mean, that's the kind of - a way of love that is a

transformational way that, gosh, that has made a difference in human life and civilization. Whenever a change for good has happened, it's been

people motivated and passionate about a way of love that was bigger than self.

AMANPOUR: You know, you mentioned the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and I'm actually going to just quickly mention him. You know, your church, the

Episcopal Church, is a big campaigner for rights, civil rights, human rights as you are, too. It's had a female presiding bishop before you, and

it's one of only two Anglican churches that permit gay marriages in their churches. Now, today the Vatican and a lot of the Catholic world is

reacting to something a victim of sexual abuse in Chile said that he had a conversation with Pope Francis. And this person says, this guy, that Pope

Francis said to him, "God made you like this. God loves you like this." I wonder what you think of that given, that the Catholic Church believes that

it goes against God's teaching and that it's a disoriented, you know, abnormal state of being?

CURRY: Well, you know, what I can say is, is what my belief and the beliefs of our church and the Episcopal Church that - and actually, I think

this is biblical, that every human being is created, as the Book of Genesis says, in the image and likeness of God, the Imago Dei. That image of God

is one of the Bible's way of saying that there's something about us that resembles God that is of infinite value and worth because of that. That

every human being, it doesn't matter who they are, it doesn't matter what their politics are, it doesn't matter what their religion are - is, it

doesn't matter who they are, every human being is created in the image of God in an infinite, as Dr. King once said, of infinite metaphysical value.

And if that is true, then we are who God has called and created us to be, and part of our task is to live deeply into that and to discover in ever

new ways how God would use our lives that reflect God's dream, and not a nightmare.

AMANPOUR: Bishop, there are a lot of African Americans who came for the wedding, a lot of British - black British people who were there for the

wedding. People were just energized. They really though, wow, this is the first time that the royal family has made itself look a lot like our

society - much, much more diverse. I wonder what you have heard from people and whether you think this could be a game changing moment?

CURRY: Well, you know, the wonderful thing about it is, the royal family all made this possible. They made all of this possible, and I suspect that

in some wonderful and small way, I got a feeling God was trying to send a message not just to them, but maybe to the whole human family, that the

truth is no matter who we are, no matter our station in life, we actually come from the same God. And last time I checked, even in the world of

biology, if you have the same parent, you are related to that person.

And the truth is, we got the same parent. We are all related, whether we are royal or not. Whether we are black or white, red, yellow, brown, gay,

straight, rich, poor, no matter the nationality, no matter the religion, we all come from the same God. And if that's true, then we are brothers and

sisters and we're meant to be our sister's keeper and our brother's keeper, and my friend, we'd have a very different world if we all lived like that.

AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, it's really powerful words, and you can be sure that St. George's Chapel has never rung with the passion of an address such

as yours.

And I just wonder whether you looked across, did you see the queen, did you see the duke of Edinburgh, did you see the royals sitting right in your

line of sight, and how did it affect you? I mean that's a heavy audience there.

CURRY: Yes, that's true. But I have to admit, I've been ordained not quite 40 years. And over the years, I've realized when I've married couple

that no matter how large or small the congregation that gathered.

Speak to them, and if I speak to their souls, the souls and the hearts of that couple, you'll probably find that you're speaking to the souls of all

those who are gathered.

And so after a while, I just became a regular parish priest and was talking to a young couple who was getting married. Because their love for each

other is related to the same love that God wants for the whole world.

AMANPOUR: Well, Bishop Curry, thank you. You certainly rocked the royal wedding, and thank you for joining us.

That is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcasts, you can see us online at And follow me on Facebook

and Twitter. Thanks for watching, and good bye from London.