Michael Hayden is the former NSA and CIA boss, whose claim to fame is that he oversaw the illegal warrantless wiretapping of Americans under President George W. Bush. He's pretty consistently managed to stick his foot in his mouth concerning everything regarding the latest NSA leaks every time he speaks. He claimed that Ed Snowden was worse than every American
revealed spy in history (despite the fact that, unlike actual spies like Benedict Arnold and the Rosenbergs, Snowden focused on informing the public, rather than selling secrets to our enemies). He brushed off Snowden's supporters as internet shut-ins who can't get laid
. Though, perhaps he should talk to a geek or two, because he doesn't even understand what data mining means
His latest is no better. On Sunday he gave a speech where he revealed that (he claims) terrorists love Gmail
"Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide," presumably meaning online service rather than the actual provider of Internet service. He added: "I don't think you're going to see that in a Google commercial, but it's free, it's ubiquitous, so of course it is."
Of course, if this is true (and seeing as he hasn't been in the government for a while, I'm not sure how he'd actually know that), it would seem like that statement alone is much worse
than anything that Snowden revealed, because General Hayden basically just told every terrorist "don't use Gmail any more, because we're on to you." Of course, from all reports so far of the way that Al Qaeda brass communicates, it appears they learned that lesson since before Gmail existed. It seems highly unlikely that any sophisticated terrorist would be using a service like Gmail, since it's long been suspected that the US government monitored it anyway.
Hayden didn't stop there. He also flat out admitted that the US was "militarizing" the internet (though he called it the web), which is another thing that the government has been trying to deny until Hayden just blurted it out.
Hayden also conceded that the United States. "could be fairly charged with the militarization of the World Wide Web."
Hayden also reveals the rather ridiculous sense of entitlement that the intelligence community has towards snooping on the internet. He argues, effectively, that since the internet rose out of a US government project, then of course it should be able to spy on everything on it.
"We built it here, and it was quintessentially American," he said, adding that partially due to that, much of traffic goes through American servers where the government "takes a picture of it for intelligence purposes."
Of course, that totally ignores the status of the internet today, and how much has changed since the old ARPANET days. Also, as the Washington Post notes, having intelligence community officials say ridiculous crap like that is more or less telling the rest of the world (and many Americans) to stop doing business with American internet companies. Is whatever minor intel the NSA picks up really worth losing many billions to the US economy?
And, of course, Hayden once again made it clear that if he had his way, the NSA would be able to track anything and everything, because anonymity is bad.
At one point, Hayden expressed a distaste for online anonymity, saying "The problem I have with the Internet is that it's anonymous."
Given that, I'd like to challenge Michael Hayden to release his browser history from the past three months. After all, I'm sure he wouldn't want anyone to think he's a hypocrite who surfed the web anonymously, now would he?