Ex-CIA chief Hayden: There'll be up to 5,000 covert U.S. personnel in Syria by the end of the year

Despite pledges from the White House that no American ground troops will be sent to fight the Islamic State (ISIS), Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA and NSA, thinks that up to 5,000 Americans will be on the ground by the end of the year.

“It might be through covert action rather than more overt activity,” Hayden said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Hayden said those won’t be regular combat troops, but intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, logistics, advice, command and control assistance and tactical air control parties. He said that even if America is successful, it can expect a three- to five-year battle.