TIME

TIME with…THE SPY MASTERS

Two former intelligence chiefs chart the collapse of faith in government and warn of the dangers of Trumpism
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA chief Michael Hayden at the Watergate Hotel in May

IT SOUNDED LIKE A SCANDAL. IN A SERIES OF late-May tweets, President Trump alleged that the Obama Administration had placed a spy in his 2016 campaign for political purposes. “This is bigger than Watergate!” he wrote. But “SPYGATE,” as Trump dubbed it, was not exactly what he said it was. The FBI had reportedly deployed an informant to covertly question low-level members of Trump’s circle who had been contacted by Russian operatives. The goal, according to Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have seen the intelligence, was to figure out what Moscow was up to, not to infiltrate Trump’s campaign.

To James Clapper and Michael Hayden, two long-serving, retired leaders of the U.S. intelligence community, Trump’s tirade was just the latest in a string of politically motivated attacks on America’s spies. “[Trump] is undercutting the validity of institutions on which we’re going to have to rely long after he’s left office,” says Hayden, who led the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009 and the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005. Trump “is constitutionally illiterate [and] a real test

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from TIME

TIME3 min readPolitics
The Problem Is Bigger Than Trump
In the immediate aftermath of the El Paso shooting, a raging argument broke out online and across the airwaves. Given that the suspected shooter used one of Donald Trump’s favorite words to describe illegal immigration—invasion—did that mean Trump ac
TIME2 min readPolitics
News Ticker
North Korea nets billions in cybercrime North Korea has earned as much as $2 billion through large-scale cyberattacks on banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, per a report to the U.N. leaked on Aug. 5. The report said the funds were being channeled to
TIME3 min read
A Moonlight Writer Revisits Adolescence
IT’S A STORY POP CULTURE KEEPS RETELLING: A SMART, kindhearted kid from a poor neighborhood sees his potentially bright future threatened by gangs. Movies like Boyz n the Hood set the prototype in the 1990s. The 21st century has brought variations on