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Former NSA/CIA head: ISIS’s ascent in Iraq poses 9/11-like danger to U.S.

Michael Hayden, a former NSA and CIA head, said he expects Iraq to be partitioned into three nations. (Jeffrey MacMillan )

Former NSA and CIA head Michael Hayden said Sunday that the advance of ISIS extremists in Iraq is extremely dangerous to the United States and its allies, saying it's "in the same area code" as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"This is quite a dangerous thing that we're seeing unfold here," Hayden said on "Fox News Sunday. "It's probably not 9/11, but it's certainly in the same area code."

Hayden said he expects Iraq to be partitioned into three nations — a Sunni Muslim nation, a Shiite Muslim nation and a Kurdish nation. He previously said Iraq has essentially "ceased to exist" as a country with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria having seized much of Iraq's Sunni territory.

"I think we get there" to partition, Hayden said. "We may already be there in a de facto sense. It may take a while before we get there in a de jure sense."

Hayden noted that Iraqi Kurds recently took over the oil center of Kirkuk in the north — a move he attributed to the likely partition of the country.

"I'm trying to be descriptive here and not prescriptive," Hayden said. "I just fear this is what's going to actually happen."

Hayden suggested a similar thing could happen in neighboring Syria, particularly in the eastern part of that country.



Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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Aaron Blake · June 29, 2014

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