clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Amtrak passenger tweets details of former NSA director Michael Hayden's off-the-record conversation

New, 51 comments
Michael Hayden and Tom Matzzie
Michael Hayden and Tom Matzzie

Former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden had a taste of some decidedly low-tech surveillance earlier today. Tom Matzzie, founder of the Ethical Electric Company, was taking an Amtrak Acela train outside of Philadelphia today when Hayden sat down behind him and started talking "on background as a former senior admin official."

Matzzie spent the next hour tweeting details from Hayden's conversation; while details were minimal, it sounds like Hayden spent most of the time ripping the current administration without allowing the comments to be attributed to himself. Hayden supposedly was "bragging about rendition," and Matzzie said most of his comments related to NSA spying on foreign allies. That's probably in reference to today's news that the NSA spied on the calls of 35 foreign leaders.

As Hayden's conversations wrapped up, his phone rang and Matzzie joked that someone tipped Hayden off that his comments weren't entirely private — and it looked like his hunch was correct. Hayden came over, introduced himself, offered to do an interview, and even let Matzzie tweet a photo of the two of them together. "We talked around the 4th amendment and foreign spying," Matzzie tweeted, and also said that "the intelligence world is kind of dark and scary." Matzzie also made sure to note that he and Hayden weren't sitting in the Acela's quiet car — "he wasn't THAT guy," Matzzie said.