PUBLISHED: 21:36 EST, 11 May 2012 | UPDATED: 22:49 EST, 11 May 2012
A former top CIA covert officer said there are more foreign spies on U.S. soil than there was at the peak of the Cold war.
Hank Crumpton, who served as deputy director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center led the U.S. response to 9/11, spoke to 60 Minutes about his life as a spy.
The former officer, who ran one of the spy agency’s secret domestic networks conducted counter-intelligence within the U.S. as the chief of the CIA’s National Resources Division.
He told CBS: ‘If you look at the threat that is imposed upon our nation every day, some of the major nation states – China in particular – have very sophisticated intelligence operations, very aggressive operations against the U.S.
‘I would hazard to guess there are more foreign intelligence officers inside the U.S. working against U.S. interests now than even at the height of the Cold War. It’s a critical issue.’
He also expressed his concerns about what al Qaeda are doing in North Africa and the danger they pose.
‘I’m particularly concerned about al Qaeda in Yemen, which is fractured as a nation state. The Sahel, if you look at al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, they pose a threat, and in Somalia. Those are the places I’d be concerned,’ he said.
Crumpton led the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and talks about the months in Afghanistan after America declared war on the country and the CIA led the mission to topple the Taliban.
He also believes the U.S. government should not withdraw the troops too quickly as he fears al Qaeda could make a comeback in Afghanistan.
He said: ‘You’ve got so many mistakes on the U.S. side, and you’ve got a feckless, corrupt government on the Afghan side.
‘I am really more pessimistic now than I’ve been in a long time.’