Friday 25 March 2016 1:38 pm

EU referendum: Former CIA director backs claims Brexit could be good for UK security because EU can "get in the way"

A former CIA director has backed claims that a so-called Brexit could be good for Britain's security.

Retired general Michael Hayden has said the European Union “in some ways gets in the way of the state providing security for its own citizens”.

He was speaking after former head of MI6 Richard Dearlove yesterday said Britain could be safer outside of the EU

Read more: Former MI6 spy chief says Brexit could make Britain safer

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Hayden said: “I think Sir Richard is right… I don't mean to be arguing against the European Union, but with regards to these kinds of questions the union is not a natural contributor to national security of each of the entity states. 

"And, in fact, in some ways [it] gets in the way of the state's providing security for its own citizens.”

Hayden also said that security services across the EU are "very uneven" in terms of strength.

He described services in the UK and France as "very good" and "aggressive". But he was critical of other "small services" across the continent, including Belgium's.

Read moreIgnore Project Fear: Brexit will not kill the Special Relationship

Yesterday, Dearlove wrote in Prospect magazine: "Whether one is an enthusiastic European or not, the truth about Brexit from a national security perspective is that the cost to Britain would be low.”

He added: "Brexit would bring two potentially important security gains: the ability to dump the European Convention on Human Rights… and, more importantly, greater control over immigration from the EU."