This Clip Of Former NSA Boss Michael Hayden Calling Snowden A Traitor Is Brought To You By Microsoft

from the making-the-worst-of-your-advertising-dollars dept

Former NSA head Michael Hayden hasn’t been shy about offering his opinion on the Snowden leaks. Not being in a position where his opinion might damage the government’s reputation has certainly encouraged him to speak his mind. This has led to some truly bizarre assertions from the former spy-in-chief, including his belief that Snowden is headed down the path to alcoholism, his supporters are mainly internet shut-ins and that state secrecy is just like personal privacy and worthy of the same protections.

Over the weekend, Hayden appeared on Face the Nation, where he defended the NSA’s activities and further derided Ed Snowden. [Full transcript here with a bundled autoplay video for no conceivable reason.] Hayden has apparently “upgraded” his views on Snowden (although, I’m more inclined to believe they’ve never changed) based on recent developments.

HAYDEN: Well, I used to say he was a defector, you know, and there’s a history of defection — actually, there’s a history of defection to Moscow, and that he seems to be part of that stream. I’m now, kind of, drifting in the direction of perhaps more harsh language.
GARRETT: Such as?
HAYDEN: Such as “traitor.”

Hayden’s “drift” is based on a misconception that spread throughout most of the media in recent weeks.

HAYDEN: Well, in the past two weeks, in open letters to the German and the Brazilian government, he has offered to reveal more American secrets to those governments in return for something — and in return was for asylum. I think there’s an English word that describes selling American secrets to another government, and I do think it’s treason.

Except that’s not what Snowden actually said. That’s just how it was portrayed, but Snowden never made a conditional offer. He was simply looking for permanent asylum and offering nothing in exchange — just presenting the details of his current situation. The press took this and presented it as Snowden offering to help spy on the US or divulge secret documents in exchange for asylum. Hayden bought it. No doubt the NSA believes it as well. But Hayden cites this specifically as why he believes Snowden is a traitor — and it’s for something Snowden not only hasn’t done, but for something he never even offered to do.

Making this ridiculous assertion even more ridiculous is the odd synergy of CBS and its sponsorship deals. The official CBS News Twitter account offered up a clip of Hayden calling Snowden a traitor as a “Face the Nation Moment” — sponsored by none other than Microsoft.

I’m sure this is the last (mostly inadvertent) tie-in the software giant hoped to see rolling out to CBS News’ 2.8 million followers. Microsoft has tried hard to distance itself from the image of “willing surveillance participant” in the past several weeks. It has issued statements about valuing customer privacy even as news has surfaced about it handing over pre-encryption access to the agency for several of its most popular products, as well as newer acquisitions like Skype.

But the way CBS pitches it, the message comes across as Microsoft supporting Hayden’s claims that Snowden is a traitor. Unfortunate to be sure, but not entirely unbelievable.

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Companies: cbs, microsoft

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Comments on “This Clip Of Former NSA Boss Michael Hayden Calling Snowden A Traitor Is Brought To You By Microsoft”

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art guerrilla (profile) says:

The They (tm) are afraid...

…it is THEIR fear which drives this orwellian nightmare, NOT our ‘fears’…

*OUR* fears have to do with economic uncertainty, lack of opportunity, being fiscally raped -repeatedly- by the uberklass,unwarranted -if not warrantless- spying, and ‘our’ (sic) leaders selling out our rights, heritage, and resources…

we ARE afraid of ‘our’ (sic) gummint, NOT al qaeda…
we’re afraid of destitution, not socialism…
we’re afraid of killing a planet, not making a killing…
we’re afraid we’ve slid so far down this slippery slope, there’s no climbing back out again…

we’re afraid all right, but not of a literal handful of PEOPLE WE HAVE WRONGED, but afraid of the ones doing the wronging…

Anonymous Coward says:

Projecting Much?

Claims of heading down the path to alcoholism sound like they’d fit Hayden far better really. Watching the immoral web of lies he calls an organization that he ruled over collapse? Where he is out of power and his legacy is going to go straight to “treasonous power-abusing creep”?

As opposed to a man who through following his convictions has been world-moving and is producing very real change?

Anonymous Coward says:

the press was bound to sensationalise what Snowden said because doing so sold papers! the fact that Hayden and Clapper, i think, earlier before Xmas jumped on what was said IN THE PRESS, surely is no surprise? it gave the ideal opportunity to jump in, again, just as before, to paint Snowden as a complete anti-USA citizen and them, the total USA do-gooders! i wonder how long it will take, if at all, at just how ridiculous they make themselves out to be when trying to blame what has happened on to one person who, in actual fact, did the thing that the rest of the world are eternally grateful to him for doing and them as being complete arse holes!

Anonymous Coward says:

Ever notice that what the government blames others for is exactly what they are guilty of? Like refusing to use China’s internet hardware because it might be bugged? Or human rights for political dissents? I’ve gotten to where when I hear them blame someone for doing something of thinking in just this manner. More often than not, later on it turns out that was really the truth.

Snowden never offered to sell anything to anyone. Or at least not that has hit the public media. If he had they would have been all over it.

Snowden being in Russia was a fault of the US cancelling his passport. Russia was not his chosen destination. So again we hear more blame that was caused directly by the US’s actions, not by Snowden’s choices.

Anonymous Coward says:

Michael Hayden: “There are necessary secrets. Our society recognizes privacy or secrecy for a variety of institutions. We do priest/penitent. We do lawyer/client. We do husband/wife. I mean, we recognize that for the greater good, somethings need to be kept out of the public domain. Those are more in the sense of personal privacy. But privacy to an individual is what secrecy is to a state. Both are necessary and both can be abused. Fully aware, alright, that both can be abused.”

Notice he does not say government recognizes privacy, only that society does. Then he goes on to claim that government should be given privacy. Note his acknowledgement of abuses. Of course the government abuses its powers, but society should show respect?

Anonymous Coward says:

What really gets me is Hayden, and others, whining about Snowden being a “defector” to Moscow, when their own government pulled his passport and FORCED him to stay there. He wasn’t there by choice. That may have been a lucky happenstance anyway, because our intrepid DOJ, by then, was all for grabbing him at the earliest opportunity. They can’t very well do that in Russia. Someone should muzzle that jerk, preferably between the eyes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“He wasn’t there by choice.”

yes he was, he also chose to go to china, and asked to go to many other places, they withdrew his passport AFTER he left, I am sure he would be able to come back if he so chose.

No one forced him to break the law and run away, he chose to do that. (for whatever reasons). It was HIS CHOICE.

the US Gov. or NSA did not MAKE him do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Am I the only one who thinks that Snowden is way too sympathetic?
Good, innocent lookin guy offers to help foreign spy agencies and proves himself by revealing something we all knew alredy?
There was a word for this i forgot.
Anyway im just sayin that this whole charade is a joke, and Snowden will end up dead either way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

yes, there is something very ‘creepy’ Mr Snowden sure he’ll come and “help” as long as it is ‘lawful’ (by his definition??)..

he’s got secret information and is offering to “help” these other countries, and you notice he releases the type of “help” that he proposes..

its not a way to earn ‘trust’ !

Daemon_ZOGG (profile) says:

"..Former NSA Boss Michael Hayden Calling Snowden A Traitor Is Brought To You By Microsoft"

I have nothing but high praise and respect for Snowden. And micro$0ft has more back doors, than front doors. Being a willing participant for the NSA didn’t require a lot of coding effort for micro$0ft. Besides, the NSA was able to offer more business in exchange. It’s also well known that M$ would delay critical updates to foreign powers so the NSA could take advantage of software exploits in micro$0ft’s products. Combine that with the RSA encryption backdoors payed for by the NSA, and now you see how valuable M$ is to US secret government entities. Use community supported open-source, people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Everyone here is so concerned with portraying the NSA as bulk data collecting liars.
Has it not occurred to people that they may simply be misinformed, the incredible quantities of data they collect having buried accurate information under a mountain of false information that they are simply incapable of knowing what is real and what isn’t.
The clues are there, even in this article.
“No doubt the NSA believes it as well”
They are like a schizophrenic going through a particularly bad patch, being off their medication, not knowing if certain things are real or phantoms conjured up by their illness. It is a frightening situation for any one to be in, let alone an entire agency.

It’s sad really!
Treat the NSA with compassion not contempt – get them psychiatric care and treatment now, they are as much victims as a poor American PTSD suffering drone operator.

Obviously they are a danger to themselves and others but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be helped.

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