Former NSA/CIA Boss' Anger Issues: Claims Senate Staffers Are 'Sissies' And Wyden Isn't 'Acting Like A Man'

from the should-we-take-this-outside dept

It would appear that former NSA and CIA boss Michael Hayden has some anger management issues to work out. We thought he was just a little nutty in the past — calling Snowden’s supporters internet shut-ins and insisting that Snowden himself (a non-drinker) was bound to end up an alcoholic. But in the past few days, he’s gone somewhat ballistic in attacking various elected officials and government employees in a manner that sounds like he’s literally asking to get into a fist fight.

Yesterday, we noted how odd it was that he decided to go the misogynistic route, by arguing that Senator Dianne Feinstein was too emotional to put out a credible report on the CIA’s torture practices (while, at the same time admitting that he was defending the report despite not knowing what’s in it). However, apparently that was just the latest in his round of weird ad hominem attacks. Trevor Timm points us to a couple of even more bizarre and outlandish quotes from Hayden from late last week. He was speaking at Johns Hopkins University, debating issues related to the NSA, when he was asked about James Clapper lying to Congress (something Clapper has flat out admitted to doing) concerning whether or not the NSA was collecting data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans. Hayden used the opportunity to not just defend Clapper, but to say that Senator Ron Wyden wasn’t “man enough” and to call Senate staffers a bunch of “sissies”. He tries to play off the “sissies” comment as him just pronouncing the acronym of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — SSCI — but having it coupled almost immediately with the “not man enough” comment, it’s pretty obvious what Hayden is suggesting.

Does he think this is high school?

If you can’t watch it, here’s what he says:

Jim’s a good friend and an honest man. But, frankly, it was a horrible answer to — and here’s the new news — a really horrible question. Ron Wyden knew the answer to that question. Everyone on that dais, every member of that Committee, knew the answer to that question. Everyone sitting behind every member of that committee — all those sissies — the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence staffers, knew the answer to that question. That question had been briefed to them multiple times in closed sessions.

What Jim should have said is, “we’ll take it to closed session.” He didn’t. But Senator Wyden doesn’t get a free pass either. If he wanted Jim Clapper to commit a felony, and reveal something that was appropriately classified, Senator Wyden should have acted like a man and revealed it himself, rather than trying to “trap” a career public servant into what for him would be a criminal act. This thing cuts two ways.

There’s so much crap here to unpack. Over the last few months we’ve noticed this line of argument appearing from one (anonymous) individual in particular in our comments — that Senator Wyden was somehow to blame for, in his role on the Senate Intelligence Committee, asking a basic question to the Director of the Office of National Intelligence. Of course, even as Hayden himself admits above, if the answer to that question went too far, there was an easy response to that, to just note that to give a full answer to that question, it would require a closed session. Clapper had said exactly that in the past, and has done it again since then. None of that required lying.

Second, just because the person asking the question — or any of the “sissies” — knows the answer is pure misdirection by Hayden. In many Congressional hearings, the people asking the questions know the answers ahead of time. These are efforts to get that information into the public record from those responsible. And, it is Clapper who is the responsible party here, so it was perfectly reasonable for Senator Wyden to ask Clapper that question in a hearing. Besides, the point — as Wyden had been clear about for years before that session, and ever since then — was that this was an issue that needed public debate, and he was asking those responsible to provide the information for the public debate.

Even the NSA’s main defender, Senator Dianne Feinstein noted that she was shocked by Clapper’s answer to Wyden’s question, since she knew it was a lie. Furthermore, Senator Wyden made it clear that if the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had asked him beforehand not to ask that question (which he’d sent to them the day before), he wouldn’t have asked it. But the situation gets worse. After Clapper lied, Senator Wyden’s office wrote his office, asking if he’d like to correct the false statement, and Clapper’s office refused to do so, even though the knew it was a false statement.

As for Hayden’s claim that Clapper would be “committing a felony,” that’s also erroneous. Revealing the details of a classified program is a felony, but simply stating, without context or explanation, that the NSA is collecting data on millions of Americans (a factual statement) is not revealing a classified program at all. Furthermore, you know what is a felony? Lying to Congress.

Either way, the entire point of the Senate Intelligence Committee is that it’s in charge of oversight to make sure that the intelligence community isn’t overreaching its limits, including doing things like collecting data on millions of Americans. Thus it seems flat out crazy to suggest that Senator Wyden should be tarred and feathered for doing his job on the committee.

Worse, to attack Senator Wyden’s “manhood” for not revealing the information himself, rather than asking Clapper is another rhetorical attack from someone who clearly has an axe to grind. After all, it was Hayden who kicked off the clearly unconstitutional warrantless wiretapping program that these more recent efforts were cooked up to try to “make legal.” And it was Hayden who, back when he was CIA director, did everything possible to stop Senator Wyden from revealing CIA wrongdoing. At that time, seven years ago, Wyden questioned why Hayden was so scared over a little basic oversight by the Senate. Apparently Hayden’s way of getting back at Wyden is to toss out schoolyard insults at him.

Senator Wyden seems man enough to actually respect the Constitution, to stand up against a powerful intelligence community and his own party, and to try to initiate public review of warrantless surveillance on Americans. How about Hayden? He’s the guy who kicked off that warrantless spying on Americans which he’s worked very hard to keep in the shadows ever since. Wyden himself has ignored Hayden’s schoolyard taunts directed at himself, but has called out Hayden for his “outrageous” attack on Feinstein’s motives, while also pointing out:

General Hayden unfortunately has a long history of misleading the American public – he did it on domestic surveillance when he was the head of the NSA, and he did it on torture when he was the CIA Director. The best way to correct this culture of misinformation is to give the American people a chance to review the facts for themselves, and I’ll be working with my colleagues and the administration to ensure that happens quickly.

Meanwhile, Marcy Wheeler notes that Senator Wyden is almost being far too kind to Hayden in not detailing Hayden’s blatant lies to the very same Senate Intelligence Committee concerning the CIA’s torture program. Fear not, though, because Wheeler details the list of Hayden’s past lies.

That’s not a schoolyard taunt about who is or who is not “man enough.” It’s a simple fact. All of this makes you wonder just how much there is about Hayden in his role as director of the CIA during the torture regime in the report. You almost have to ask if Hayden simply isn’t “man enough” to stand up for whatever is in the report about him.

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Comments on “Former NSA/CIA Boss' Anger Issues: Claims Senate Staffers Are 'Sissies' And Wyden Isn't 'Acting Like A Man'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’m on board with this. It’s time for Congress to send armed federal marshals out to forcibly compel witnesses to appear before Congress — and to hold those who won’t testify in contempt and lock them up until they do. That includes Hayden, Clapper, and all the rest.

Let’s see how “manly” Hayden is after 2-3 years in a cell.

mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: how about a different word?

After yesterday’s article and discussion on the misogynistic use of ’emotional,’ what about using ‘wimps’ instead of ‘sissies.’ For one thing, ‘sissies’ implies that women are weak, and I know more than a few that I’d want on my side in a bar fight. ‘Wimp’ is both gender neutral and appropriate for the spinless …wimps… that voted for The Patriot Act that included provisions to get this ball rolling, as well as being to wimpy to begin these investigations sooner.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: how about a different word?

I always thought “sissy” referred to a gay man, not a woman. But I agree, this is yet another piece that indicates a very antiquated view of how people should be. This guy appears to be mentally stuck in the ’50s, where real men are macho assholes and real women are too emotional to trust.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I agree with part of this too. Wyden should reveal what he knows because at this stage I consider the majority of our government criminals and anyone who isn’t flat out telling the truth to be largely aiding and abetting those criminals.

However, I’m not nearly as upset as Hayden about Wyden asking leading questions that get these criminals to out themselves as criminals. Hayden is just pissed these thugs (and I consider Hayden nothing short of a bully and a thugs) can’t bully Wyden like they do a lot of other Congressmen.

57 people signed a documnent in 1776 in response to exactly these kinds of abuses, and Hayden’s just mad not everyone is willing to roll over and let those abuses happen again.

pub says:

lack of understanding

1) Federal Marshals work for the Courts, not the Congress, Members of Congress can’t “send armed federal marshals” anywhere

2) persistent misunderstanding: Congress has no power to “arrest” or “start due process” against anyone – that is the executive and courts powers. There is nothing the peoples’ branch can do but shine a light on the failure of the executive to do his or her job.

3) The real sissies, given the notes here, would be all the American’s who tolerate the lack of action on the part of the executive and simply whine that Congress isn’t doing anything.

4) as has been pointed out many times before, while Feinstein, Udall or Wyden could read classified information into the record without legal repercussions the only result would be to have them removed from the Intel committee and allow the quislings to run the show. There are far bigger problems than any one of these leaks show, losing our only allies on the committee (well, Wyden and Udall) is not the way to go.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Wyden for President

He’d be shot within hours of stating he had such intentions.

Not that he could win under current US voting practices, since the votes are created-as-needed, rather than counted-as-cast, but he’d still be shot just to send the message that only corporate candidates may apply.

Would not want to put such thoughts into the minds of the adversary after all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: lack of understanding

Congress has no power to “arrest”

Here’s a popular account of Congress’ inherent power to arrest and try for contempt.

? Congress Has a Way of Making Witnesses Speak: Its Own Jail?, by Adam Cohen, New York Times, December 4, 2007

? This is where inherent contempt comes in. From the Republic?s earliest days, Congress has had the right to hold recalcitrant witnesses in contempt ? and even imprison them ? all by itself. In 1795, shortly after the Constitution was ratified, the House ordered its sergeant at arms to arrest and detain two men accused of trying to bribe members of Congress. The House held a trial and convicted one of them.

In 1821, the Supreme Court upheld Congress?s right to hold people in contempt and imprison them. Without this power, the court ruled, Congress would ?be exposed to every indignity and interruption, that rudeness, caprice, or even conspiracy, may mediate against it.? Later, in a 1927 case arising from the Teapot Dome scandal, the court upheld the Senate?s arrest of the brother of a former attorney general ? carried out in Ohio by the deputy sergeant at arms ? for ignoring a subpoena to testify.

The Congressional Research Service issued a report in July that confirmed Congress?s inherent contempt powers. It explained how they work: ?The individual is brought before the House or Senate by the sergeant at arms, tried at the bar of the body, and can be imprisoned in the Capitol jail.? Congress can do this, the report concluded, to compel them to testify or to punish them for their refusal to do so.?

For further details, see the CRS report which this article references.

Jay (profile) says:

Hold on...

We thought he was just a little nutty in the past — calling Snowden’s supporters internet shut-ins and insisting that Snowden himself (a non-drinker) was bound to end up an alcoholic.

This is rather telling…

In the 50s, there WERE some “defectors” that ended up as alcoholics. I don’t quite remember the story, but two defected to Russia and were discredited in every way possible.

So basically, they’re throwing out everything in their playbook to try to make Snowden look like a traitor to America when people see a very obvious difference between what he did and the NSA’s actions.

From what can be parsed, even Edward Bernays would be proud in the amount of propaganda that is currently being launched. Reason being, it’s meant to discredit others but it’s not doing that. It’s cementing the fact that these people don’t understand the new digital age we live in and believe that hiding their tactics will really work to help out the US.

I’m just in awe that they have lived so far in a bubble that their old tactics of subterfuge and espionage, which has taken down other countries, isn’t quite working the same when they won’t even admit they have a problem.

David says:

Re: Re: Hold on...

Well, it came to light that the Nixon administration had to abandon a plot of slipping Ellsberg (the person responsible for leaking the Pentagon Papers) LSD before a public speech because they could not get the waiters switched in time.

Now the current administration and president apparently have set themselves the goal to make Nixon look like an amateur in every respect. So I’m doubtful of any reported alcoholic whistleblowers.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Hold on...

seriously, when you hear of the total batshit insane plots that are KNOWN/DOCUMENTED to have happened (eg: any of a dozen cockamamie plots to off castro: poison scuba suit gift, exploding seashells, stuff to make his mustache/hair fall off, etc…) in the early days of the cia/etc, it is NOT surprising they are up to WHAT THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN UP TO…
COINTELPRO, etc were real, and so is the shit they are pulling now…
do NOT be mistaken: this shit been going on for a long time…
i SUSPECT that the rambling, incoherent posts hither and yon on the inertnet tubez concerning ‘mind-control’, reptilian overlords, and on from there, are cases of:
A. poor delusional soul;
B. spookbot muddying the waters;
C. REALLY IS a victim of some fucking weird cia/etc plot of harassment/surveillance/assault…
i would have dismissed C. out of hand, not too many years ago…
now ? ? ?
hell, i don’t know what krazy shit these psychopathic con artists have been up to…

David says:

Entirely plausible.

I can verily believe that Hayden did not specifically intend to refer to Wyden as a sissy in this case. Because I consider it eminently plausible that he habitually refers to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence staffers as “sissies”.

It very much fits how he models his conduct.

It is a shame that such scoundrels are invited to speak in public locations. No upright person should expose himself to this kind of insidious doublespeak drivel.

Anonymous Coward says:

So what is our recourse as citizens when congress and the executive branch, hhave admissions on camera, of felonies including war crimes, and violations of the US constitution by high ranking officials, yet they refuse to prosecute these people? If these people in these branches of government are no longer upholding the duties that they swore to do, should they be allowed the protections and privileges that they positions afford them? Lets call for a constitutional convention that would create a path where the state legislatures, all acting together can create a situation where every member of congress and the president would have to submit to a recall election. Each state legislature, can vote on a measure to have the recall election. If the measure passes with a simple majority in each state, then the event takes place, 6 months after it was passed by the first legislature. If any state legislature votes for a recall, then all the other states have 30 days to vote as well. A failure to vote, would mean automatic passage by that state. This type of event can happen no more than once every 12 months.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why? To throw out all of the irky civic rights in the constitution? The constitution is not in need of changing. If it were interpreted in the manner its authors intended, quite a few government officials would be hanging from the trees already instead of continuing on their quest to abolish the United States as a constitutional republic and bullshitting congress time and again about it.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“If it were interpreted in the manner its authors intended”

That’s the trouble, right there. Nobody really agrees on what the authors intended, although several of the authors never intended that their words be taken as immutable gospel, and rather anticipated that the document would be adjusted over time so it remains relevant and clear. Going by “what the authors intended” is error-prone because it implies that the authors were of a single mind on issues, when they most assuredly were not. What they intended was that the Constitution speaks for itself.

That would be the purpose of the constitutional convention — to clarify things so the Constitution is understandable without having to engage in historical mind-reading.

A consitutional convention is a risky move — we could end up with less than we have now. But it would be preferable to outright revolution, which is what I hear increasing calls for as time goes by.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Due to the partisan political divisions we’re experiencing, I doubt that a constitutional convention would be effective; we would, most likely, be caught up in the same Left/Liberal V Right nonsense that we’re experiencing now.

Damn, they’ve been clever about this! We’ve got to push back against divisiveness wherever we see it. Differences are fine, that’s healthy, but considering the other guy as the enemy because he disagrees with you is downright dangerous.

ethorad (profile) says:

Is there nothing he hasn't done?

Hayden sounds like he’s Dr Evil’s arch competitor. I can just see the conversation in the remake of Austin Powers:

Dr Evil: Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll hack the internet backbone and tap into email and social media traffic to spy on everyone in the entire world. We can then use the information to blackmail US senators, conduct corporate espionage to get secrets to sell, and get law enforcement to harass our enemies.

Number Two: Michael Hayden has already done that. He ran the NSA and set up a massive surveillance program to monitor the world and provide inside information to US companies.

Dr Evil: OK then, plan B. We will get information on our enemies by torturing them in secret facilities around the globe. Granted we’ll actually have to get the information from normal interrogation techniques since torture doesn’t work, but I didn’t spend six years in Evil Medical School to not torture people.

Number Two: That also has been done. After working for the NSA, Michael Hayden then moved to the CIA and oversaw a rendition and torture program which was applauded based on information from other people’s interrogations, and glorified in a Hollywood movie with a bigger budget than this one.

Dr Evil: Oh hell. Then let’s just do what we always do. Hijack a nuclear weapon and hold the world hostage. Don’t tell me Hayden has done that as well?!

Number Two: Well … (to be continued when the next set of Hayden leaks are released)

Tom (profile) says:

One has to wonder...

Is Hayden’s behavior a sign of early dementia, or is there some method behind the madness? Maybe there’s an NSA think-tank somewhere, carefully coordinating the figureheads’ public behavior to be as macho and authoritarian as possible, sending a tacit message to other such creatures in law and government that the system has their backs…

Am I paranoid for suspecting the NSA has a playbook for everything? 😉

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: One has to wonder...

“Maybe there’s an NSA think-tank somewhere, carefully coordinating the figureheads’ public behavior to be as macho and authoritarian as possible”

I believe this is the case. There is a very large portion of the US that loves authoritarianism like crazy. It makes them feel safe and protected to have a strong Big Brother watching out “for them”, and comment like these are comforting music to their ears.

What I’ve always found more than a little bizarre is that the the people who talk so much about “smaller government” and the people who prefer a muscular authoritarian government have such an enormous amount of overlap. So much cognitive dissonance there.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: One has to wonder...

to repeat what ALL kampers must keep in the back of your mind: repeated psych test have shown that approx 25% of ALL populations are ‘authoritarians’…
they DON’T want to think; they DON’T want to reason; they DON’T want to argue; they just want Big Daddy to tell them what to like, and who to kill…
it is tragic but true…

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: One has to wonder...

I think it’s because they believe the authoritarianism is being done on their behalves and won’t affect them. The idea is, a line is being held against the EEEEVILLLL Left/liberal agenda and only Michael Hayden/other authoritarian jerk can save us!!!11eleventyone!11!

I get this from right-wingers all the time. It’s not their problem and it’s for our own good. The greater good. Shudder

D. Jones (profile) says:

Be A Man

If he wanted Jim Clapper to commit a felony, and reveal something that was appropriately classified, Senator Wyden should have acted like a man and revealed it himself, rather than trying to “trap” a career public servant into what for him would be a criminal act.

So Wyden should have been a man – like Edward Snowden? I see all the praise you’re lauding on him for his actions.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Be A Man

In my view, they are both doing the same thing. They are each using a different approach because they’re both working to do it in the most effective way they can considering their circumstances.

If Wyden were to throw away his seat on the committee in order to obtain this one single victory, it would be a tactical win but a strategic loss. I would have condemned his action on that basis.

Anonymous Coward says:

I'll tell you who needs to man up: Hayden.

He needs to admit to the American public, and more importantly to himself, that his blind faith in his government (not to be confused with actual patriotism) has led to him supporting and defending horrible, outrageous, and frankly un-American government conduct.
The administration betrayed his trust, and like a battered wife, he’s in denial. He needs to accept that the government can, and has, done wrong.

(Or maybe he already knows and he’s just a sleazeball. It can go either way with these types.)

GEMont (profile) says:

Just a guess...

Just a guess of course, but methinks that Hayden has a huge portfolio buried somewhere in a desk at NSA HQ, that contains all of his “extra-curricular activities” and just like any other victim of NSA blackmail, he is now doing his level best to support the NSA through his words and actions in the hopes that the NSA will shred that portfolio some day.

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