The Richard Nixon Foundation hosted Gen. Michael Hayden at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum on Tuesday night.
Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA, presented his new book, “Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror.”
The book highlights Hayden’s participation in some of the United States’ most challenging security events, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the 9/11 attacks.
Hayden was introduced by Marine Corps Gen. Melvin Spiese (Ret.), a former deputy commander at Camp Pendleton.
Spiese described Hayden as an incredible and distinguished public servant and lauded the former general’s overseas service.
“Far more than just being a distinguished leader, he has been a prescient voice in our country over this last decade,” Spiese said.
“Gen. Hayden has predicted everything that we are seeing; he has been an adviser to our country as this has unravelled.”
Hayden recounted the Cuban Missile Crisis and the possibility of war. He said he remembered that U.S. and Soviet tanks faced off, cannon to cannon, in downtown Berlin.
“I’m old enough to actually see the world more dangerous than the world you live in today. It looks bad,” Hayden said, “and it’s been worse very recently.”
The event, spearheaded by the foundation’s communication director, Joe Lopez, is one in a series of lectures the foundation puts on during the year.
Gen. Hayden was one of the top candidates to come and speak at the Nixon Library because topics like politics usually go over well there, Lopez said.
“We’ve had authors on sports and science and other topics, but mostly politics. And then we think about who would do well here, who would bring a crowd … It’s gotta be worth the author’s time to come out here,” Lopez said.
The next guest lecturers at the library are Peter Bergen, a CNN national security analyst and Don Cogman, author of “Run Mitch: The Hard Decisions One Man Faced for the 2012 Presidential Election.”