Former NSA director Hayden gives background interview, but in public

WASHINGTON Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:45am EDT

Retired U.S. Air Force General Michael Hayden is pictured in his office in Washington May 1, 2013. Picture taken May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Retired U.S. Air Force General Michael Hayden is pictured in his office in Washington May 1, 2013. Picture taken May 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden gave a series of background interviews on Thursday afternoon but chose an unusually public place to do it - an Amtrak train, according to fellow passenger Tom Matzzie.

Matzzie, whose Twitter feed describes him as the founder of Ethical Electric Company, regaled followers with a string of tweets describing Hayden's comments to reporters. Hayden was also director of the CIA for three years.

"Former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden on Acela behind me blabbing 'on background as a former senior admin official,' sounds defensive," tweeted Matzzie. "Michael Hayden on Acela giving reporters disparaging quotes about admin. 'Remember, just refer as former senior admin.'"

And a few minutes later: "Hayden was bragging about rendition and black sites a minute ago."

Under the CIA's controversial rendition program after the September 11 attacks, terrorism suspects would be captured and held at undisclosed locations or "black sites" outside the United States.

Hayden's office became aware of the tweeting and called his cellphone to warn him, Mattzie tweeted. Matzzie then spoke to him. "I just had a very nice conversation with Michael Hayden. He was a gentleman and we disagree," he tweeted.

Afterward, in a statement to Reuters, Hayden said that in the briefing 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," he said.

Hayden is now with the business consultants Chertoff Group. He got off in Newark, New Jersey, Matzzie said. The Acela, a high speed train, runs between Washington and Boston.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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Comments (3)
WhyMeLord wrote:
You can tell immediately when Hayden’s lying, his lips are moving.
He’s just another government POS boasting about how bad they were.
He should be arrested & sent to Gitmo to be with all the other spys.

Oct 25, 2013 11:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
lemonfemale wrote:
You notice he hastened to tell Reuters he didn’t criticize the President?
That’s the important thing in this administration. You criticize the White House and you get screaming phone calls- even Bob Beckel on The Five got a nasty phone call for merely saying the individual mandate should be delayed because of the website problems. It’s very me-oriented: why the President could make reference to “my military” as he did at one point. L’etat, c’est lui.

Oct 25, 2013 12:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
tedeee wrote:
This joker was first a Republican then a general. He first a Republican and then a National Security Advisor. Check his record, his interviews. He can’t help it, he was a Bushie boy all the way.

Oct 25, 2013 12:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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