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Former NSA Chief's 'Off Record' Interviews Overheard on Train

  • VOA News

FILE - Former CIA Director Michael Hayden arrives at the Munich Security Conference, Friday Feb. 3, 2012.

FILE - Former CIA Director Michael Hayden arrives at the Munich Security Conference, Friday Feb. 3, 2012.

A former CIA and National Security Agency chief gave what he thought was a series of anonymous interviews on a train, but his comments ended up on Twitter.

Michael Hayden talked to reporters on his cell phone Thursday while traveling on a train from Washington to New York.

Tom Matzzie, the former Washington director of the liberal political group MoveOn.org, was sitting near Hayden. Matzzie divulged portions of Hayden's conversation on Twitter, including comments on the NSA spying scandal, CIA secret prisons and President Barack Obama's smartphone.

Matzzie tweeted "former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden on Acela (train) behind me blabbing on background as a former senior admin [administration] official, sounds defensive."

Matzzie continued with "Michael Hayden on Acela giving reporters disparaging quotes about admin. Remember just refer as former senior admin."
Hayden was apparently made aware of Matzzie's tweets and walked over to Matzzie to offer him an interview.

The pair discussed foreign spying and the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment barring unreasonable searches and seizures. Hayden also posed for a photograph with Matzzie.

Hayden said later that he did not criticize Obama.

Hayden is currently a principal with the Chertoff Group, a global security advisory firm.
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