The Spy Who Talked Too Much

Former NSA Director Michael Hayden spent yesterday afternoon trashing his former bosses in the Obama administration as he rode the Acela between DC and Grand Central Penn Station&#185. It was a series of off-the-record interviews which Hayden requested be anonymously attributed to a former senior administration official.

I know this because Tom Matzzie, sitting a few seats in front of Hayden, overheard the conversations and live tweeted the ‘event.’

Tom Matzzie ‏@tommatzzie
On Acela listening to former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden give “off record” interviews. I feel like I’m in the NSA. Except I’m in public.

Yes, the head of the NSA should be more discreet. And, yes, we’ve all trashed a boss or two to friends and colleagues. But there’s something much more troubling about Hayden’s conversation.

Here’s a guy who’s told anyone who’ll listen, including Congress, that intelligence his agency gathered would never be used for political or personal gain. And he’s pretty much doing exactly that!

He was using information he gained at the NSA to advance his own personal agenda. The fact that he wasn’t willing to stand behind his own words makes all of this scarier and Hayden more weasely.

The vacuum cleaner like collection of data by our nation’s security professionals and rubber stamp oversight by the secret FISA court scare the crap out of me. There’s a much better chance this haystack of intelligence will be misused than produce actionable ‘spy’ data.

&#185 – I originally wrote Grand Central. Penn Station is where Amtrak goes in Midtown Manhattan. My error. Thanks, Scott, for the email.

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