Former NSA Chief Trashes Obama Administration During Amtrak Ride

By Philip Bump

October 25, 2013

Tom Matzzie, a former MoveOn staffer, was riding the train on Thursday afternoon, when he recognized another passenger: former NSA chief Michael Hayden. Hayden was giving off-the-record interviews by phone, snippets of which Matzzie dutifully reported out on Twitter.

But then!

Matzzie's reports ring true. Hayden has been very, very active in rising to the defense of the organization that he led for the first Bush administration. (In the second, he was Director of National Intelligence.) Last month, for example, he told an audience that terrorists were into GMail.

Matzzie is no worse for the wear of ratting on one of the most powerful intelligence officials in United States history, reporting that he has not yet been spirited away to a black site. Let this be an object lesson to public figures talking to reporters on background: People nearby who can overhear are very much allowed to ignore any stipulations about hiding your identity. And it's fun when they do.

Update, 5:00 p.m.: Apparently Hayden didn't really mind.

Win pic.twitter.com/tsJHqjv1LM

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

Despite:

There is a faint smell of sulfur on the train. #Haydenacela

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

Update, 5:20: It turns out that Hayden's office gave him a heads up.

On the pic. His office called him and then he graciously offered me an interview. We talked around the 4th amendment and foreign spying.

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

By Philip Bump

October 25, 2013

http://www.govexec.com/management/2013/10/former-nsa-chief-trashes-obama-administration-during-amtrak-ride/72644/