Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has been questioned about the nature of the US intelligence agency’s operations against the Taliban, and whether he is to blame for its collapse in Afghanistan.

Mr Hayden has repeatedly insisted that he was not involved in the collapse of the Taliban regime and its withdrawal from the country.

The CIA director was also asked about the US’s response to the recent attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.

Asked whether the US should have acted sooner in Yemen, Mr Hayden said: ‘We could have acted before then.’

Mr Hayden was also questioned about allegations that the US failed to adequately inform the public about the death of the Afghan journalist and other US soldiers who were killed by al Qaeda in 2009.

Asked if he thought it was acceptable for the United States to mislead the American public, Mr Obama said:’There is no question that the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, France, Germany, Canada, Australia and some of the other nations in the world should have informed us sooner than we did.’

But Mr Hayden was then asked if he could explain why the US government was ‘very cautious’ in releasing intelligence information about al Qaeda.

Mr Obama said it was ‘part of a strategy’ to ensure the US could ‘defend itself and its allies’.’

We are very cautious when it comes to releasing intelligence that might be damaging to the national security interests of the United