Former NSA chief gets eavesdropping lesson aboard Amtrak train - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Former NSA chief gets eavesdropping lesson aboard Amtrak train

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON -

Former National Security Agency chief Michael V. Hayden learned a lesson about eavesdropping aboard an Amtrak train to Newark: Don't talk on the phone where people can hear you.

Hayden, who also once headed the CIA, began talking on his cellphone Thursday after boarding Acela No. 2170, The Washington Post reported.

A few seats away, passenger Tom Matzzie heard him mention President Barack Obama's 2008 BlackBerry, which was modified to block foreign eavesdropping.

Once Matzzie was able to place Hayden, he took to Twitter. "Former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden on Acela behind me blabbing 'on background as a former senior admin official,'?" he tweeted. "Sounds defensive."

Matzzie, a former Washington director of the political organization MoveOn.org, kept up the tweets for another 15 minutes as Hayden talked. Hayden used the name "Massimo," leading Matzzie to conclude he was speaking with Time's national security reporter, Massimo Calabresi.

"Michael Hayden on Acela giving reporters disparaging quotes about admin," Matzzie tweeted. "?'Remember, just refer as former senior admin.'?"

Someone eventually tipped off Hayden, who finished a call, stood up and walked over to Matzzie.

"Would you like a real interview?" Hayden asked.

"I'm not a reporter," Matzzie replied.

"Everybody's a reporter," Hayden said.

The Post said the two then talked about the Fourth Amendment and NSA surveillance, and then Hayden posed for a photo with Matzzie.

Hayden told the Post later he wasn't disparaging Obama or his administration. Matzzie "got it terribly wrong," Hayden said, dismissing the tweets as an inaccurate "story from a liberal activist sitting two seats from me on the train hearing intermittent snatches of conversation."

"I didn't criticize the president," Hayden said. "I actually said these are very difficult issues. I said I had political guidance, too, that limited the things that I did when I was director of NSA. Now that political guidance (for current officials) is going to be more robust. It wasn't a criticism."

Hayden retired as CIA director in 2009 and is now a principal in the Chertoff Group, a national security consultancy.

  • Viral StoriesMore>>

  • Study: Naps linked with higher risk of death

    Study: Naps linked with higher risk of death

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:50 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:50:30 GMT
    New research shows middle-age and older adults who take naps may be at increased risk of dying. Experts discovered naps were linked with an increased risk of dying from respiratory diseases.
    New research shows middle-age and older adults who take naps may be at increased risk of dying. Experts discovered naps were linked with an increased risk of dying from respiratory diseases.
  • America's middle class falling behind

    America's middle class falling behind

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:49 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:49:33 GMT
    America's middle class has always been known as the most affluent in the world. But, that may not be the case anymore. A new study finds that our country's middle class has stalled. According to the New York Times, in 2010, Canada and America were at a dead heat for median income.
    America's middle class has always been known as the most affluent in the world. But, that may not be the case anymore. A new study finds that our country's middle class has stalled. According to the New York Times, in 2010, Canada and America were at a dead heat for median income.
  • Maryland Transportation Authority in nest battle with osprey

    Maryland Transportation Authority in nest battle with osprey

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:05 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:05:24 GMT
    It has been a rough few days for a grand ole osprey trying to build a nest for the eggs it needs to lay. The trouble is where the bird wants to nest: in front of a traffic camera on a highway gantry perched above the eastbound lanes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
    It has been a rough few days for a grand ole osprey trying to build a nest for the eggs it needs to lay. The trouble is where the bird wants to nest: in front of a traffic camera on a highway gantry perched above the eastbound lanes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices