October 25th, 2013
07:31 AM ET
9 months ago

Overheard on the train: Former NSA Chief Michael Hayden

(CNN) – My, how the tables have turned. Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden had a mole of his own on the Acela train Thursday afternoon.

Nearby passenger Tom Matzzie, a well-known progressive activist, eavesdropped on a phone conversation between Hayden and an unknown journalist, and live-tweeted what he heard. At least he wasn't on the quiet car...


Hayden, a CNN.com contributor, told CNN he "had a nice chat with my fellow Pittsburgher."

"Not sure what he thinks bashing the Administration means," he said in a statement, adding he didn't criticize President Barack Obama. "I actually said these are very difficult issues. I said I had political guidance, too, that limited the things that I did when I was director of NSA. Now that political guidance is going to be more robust. It wasn’t a criticism.”

Hayden was appointed by President George W. Bush as CIA director in 2006 and served until February 2009. Before that he served as director of the NSA from 1999 to 2005.

TWEETS

But in the end, Matzzie got a picture with the former NSA chief. Matzzie said on Twitter that Hayden offered him an interview; he asked for a photo. He added that the two had a chat about the Fourth Amendment, but ended their disagreement on good terms.


Filed under: Michael Hayden • NSA
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Alan S.

    It all gets down to one thing: you give to get; is it worth giving up and/or losing consitutional rights versus greater security from outside and/or unsceen, unknown threats? We are sliding down this slippery slope at a rapid speed and if the American Public fails to speak out now they may never be able to speak out against anything the government does in the future as personal freedoms continue to decline and soon it may be illegal to even post my opinion on this blog.

    October 25, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  2. uvaldogarcia

    That sounds very unethical. First, stealing quotes from another jounalist's interview in what I'm sure was supposed to be an exclusive. Then identifying both persons before knowing the parameters of the interview. Later, it sounds like Hayden intends for this to be off record. Welcome to TMZ jounalism, folks.

    October 25, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  3. w l jonesjones

    Are sure they were not talking about Tea-party member were on the Republican plantation wont get invited to important meeting in future.

    October 25, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. Siestasis

    Even very smart people are sometimes very dumb, ie Hayden

    October 25, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    uvaldogarcia

    That sounds very unethical. First, stealing quotes from another jounalist's interview in what I'm sure was supposed to be an exclusive. Then identifying both persons before knowing the parameters of the interview. Later, it sounds like Hayden intends for this to be off record. Welcome to TMZ jounalism, folks.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Obviously they were talking quite loudly if the guy in front of them could hear them over all the other background noise. If they wanted to have a private "off the record" conversation, perhaps they should have chosen a more private venue instead of using crowded public transport.

    October 25, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. kbkbkb

    @uvaldogarcia if someone is speaking loudly enough to be overheard in a public space, what do you want him to do? Close his ears? Hum quietly so that he can't overhear? There's nothing unethical about it. If you don't want to be overheard, hold the interview in a place where you won't be overheard. There's no expectation of privacy in this situation. Even if it was a violation of privacy, Hayden doesn't seem to care about violating the privacy of others citizens, why should anyone care about violating his? Give him a taste of his own medicine, and he didn't seem to mind.

    October 25, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |