Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden has once again shown himself to be a dark and devious character who will say anything in order to advance whatever objectives he and his paymasters at the intelligence agencies have decided on… no matter how much it steps on the American peoples’ right to privacy.
In the past, Hayden has been caught lying or bending truths (and being generally crooked) so many times that he has whole webpages devoted to his remarkable and outlandish comments. Amongst literally a mountain of these comments, he has famously admitted that 9/11 gave him the opportunity and permission to reinterpret the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, claiming that what he saw as an overreach of power the day before seemed like a perfectly reasonable course of action the day after.
He said that terrorist attacks that were not prevented were evidence that the alphabet agencies should keep collecting American citizens metadata, and has claimed that ‘my literal responsibility as director of the CIA with regard to covert action was to inform the Congress – not to seek their approval.’ He lied about the CIA’s torture program, and then later claimed that releasing information about it would be a tipping point for further terrorist attacks. He has condemned the people who see fit to publish the Snowden revelations, and said that they should not be allowed to work for the government under any circumstances, also claiming that,
‘The Snowden leaks have the potential, if not already the reality, to be the most single most destructive leak of American security information in our history. Snowden is attempting to reveal the underlying architecture of the US intelligence gathering network. We’ve lost cups of water before. We’ve lost buckets of water. Yet this is a guy who is exposing the very plumbing that pipes the information.’
On the other hand, he has made hilariously outlandish comments about America’s espionage programs himself,
‘Listen, I fully admit: we steal other country’s secrets. And frankly we’re quite good at it. But the reason we steal these secrets is to keep our citizens free, and to keep them safe. We don’t steal secrets to make our citizens rich. Yet this is exactly what the Chinese do. I believe the Chinese today are engaging in unrestricted espionage against the West that is comparable to the unrestricted submarine warfare waged by Imperial Germany in 1916.’
Now, in a completely unsurprising development, he has been caught ‘at it’ yet again – this time in regards to the USA Freedom Act. Last November, in an article co-authored with Michael B. Mukasey for the Wall Street Journal, entitled ‘NSA reform that only ISIS could love’. In it Hayden made clear that the USA Freedom Act would ‘hobble’ the US’s vital gathering of electronic intelligence, opening the door (as he so often claims) to terrorist organizations,
‘The bill would substitute a cumbersome and untried process that would require the NSA, when it seeks to check on which telephone numbers have called or been called by a number reasonably associated with terrorist activity, to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court, and then scurry to each of the nation’s telephone-service providers to comb through the information that remains in their hands rather than in the NSA’s.
Nothing in the bill requires the telephone companies to preserve the metadata for any prescribed period. Current Federal Communications Commission regulations impose an 18-month retention requirement, but administrative regulations are subject to change. It isn’t hard to envision companies that wish to offer subscribers the attraction of rapid destruction of these records, or a complaisant bureaucracy that lets them do it.
The bill’s imposition of the warrant requirement on the NSA would be more burdensome than what any assistant U.S. attorney must do to get metadata in a routine criminal case, which is simply to aver that the information is needed in connection with a criminal investigation—period.’
Now, less than a year after crying wolf – erm I mean ISIS – and claiming that that ‘the last thing’ congress should be doing is pushing ‘a major new bill exquisitely crafted to hobble the gathering of electronic intelligence,’ Hayden has gone on record stating the exact opposite opinion. He makes it all too clear that his comments in the WSJ were designed to make the American public believe that he was against the USA Freedom Act, when in fact it was exactly what he and his cronies wanted all along – a specially designed ‘win’ for privacy advocates that gave them a pat on the back, while leaving the door open for the NSA to continue with its overt collection of Americans’ metadata,
‘If somebody would come up to me and say “Look, Hayden, here’s the thing: This Snowden thing is going to be a nightmare for you guys for about two years. And when we get all done with it, what you’re going to be required to do is that little 215 program about American telephony metadata — and by the way, you can still have access to it, but you got to go to the court and get access to it from the companies, rather than keep it to yourself” — I go: And this is it after two years? Cool!’
As per usual, any time that you hear Hayden fear-mongering, all you need to do is look a little closer. Without fail, there will be a ‘slight of hand’ trick going on, designed to aid him and his alphabet-soup friends in getting exactly what they want. In conclusion, any hope that Snowden’s important revelations have in any way changed the nature of the US government’s policy towards its citizens’ private communications must be regarded a pipe dream.
America – you are being watched – so if you value your privacy at all, you are (as always) strongly recommended to take that privacy into your own hands, and to begin, or continue, to use encryption and a VPN whenever possible.