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10/25/2013

NSA: Spying on the spy

 

#Protip for former National Security Agency boss Michael Hayden: Lower your voice on the train.

Tom Matzzie, a political strategist and former Washington director of MoveOn.org, was catapulted to Twitter stardom Thursday night for his 140-character reports on Hayden. Matzzie was sitting three seats away on an Acela express train when he started overhearing phrases such as "black sites" and CIA. He wrote that Hayden was talking to journalists "on background" and asking them to quote him not by name, but as a "former senior administration official." 


Screen shot 2013-10-24 at 5.16.04 PM

 

Matzzie later wrote that someone called Hayden on the phone (wonder how that conversation went, "Uh, Mike, your old pals at NSA here. Yeah, could you, like, stop talking to reporters on the train.") Hayden then approached Matzzie, posed for a photo and engaged him a conversation about the 4th Amendment about unreasonable search and seizure.


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Doesn't sound like Matzzie got much sleep Thursday night, fielding interview requests. Love the ending of this New York Magazine Q&A:

Are you paranoid right now? Did you go home and clear your search history?
No. Email login didn't work for a minute.  But that was just ALL CAPS.

Are you a hero or a traitor?
Is that really a question?

(No.)

The New York Times picked up the story too.  "I cannot recall a single disparaging comment I made about the administration," Hayden told the Times, disputing Mr. Matzzie’s post. "I wasn’t saying anything sensitive or classified. These were just routine conversations. I can’t believe you guys are making such a big deal out of this."

Guess having personal phone calls monitored feels a bit intrusive...


Michelle Shephard is the Star's National Security correspondent and author of "Decade of Fear: Reporting from Terrorism's Grey Zone." She is a three-time recipient of Canada's National Newspaper Award. Follow her on Twitter @shephardm

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