Michael Hayden, after Escaping Justice, Calls for Other Criminals to Be Made Examples

In an article on the Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden leaks, Washington Times quotes former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden this way: (h/t Matthew Aid)

It is “really important that the government respond well to this particular abuse,” he said of the Snowden and Manning cases.


Mr. Hayden said he does not endorse some forms of exemplary punishment, “what the French call ‘for the encouragement of others.’”

But if hackers “have this attachment to transparency, perhaps the intelligence community is not where they should be,” he said, adding that the government needs to use the Snowden case to show that it is “serious.”

The former director of both the NSA and CIA said it is “very appropriate” for the U.S. government to pursue Mr. Snowden relentlessly and make his fate an issue in its bilateral relations with any nation that harbors him.

“We need to recruit from this culture,” he said. “Members of this culture, when they embrace government service with its necessary requirements of secrecy, need to be shown the government is quite serious about those necessary requirements.”

To WT’s credit, they do acknowledge that Hayden currently works for the Chertoff Group, one of the most corrupt profiteers off the war on terror.

But it doesn’t mention that Hayden’s the guy who decided it’d be a good idea to outsource NSA’s IT to companies like Booz Allen Hamilton so as to get more people “from this culture” working on NSA’s programs in the first place.

More importantly, it doesn’t mention that the 2009 Draft NSA IG Report that Snowden leaked provided new details about how Hayden made the final decision to continue the illegal wiretapping program even after DOJ’s top lawyers judged it illegal in 2004.

Edward Snowden leaked new details of Michael Hayden’s crime. He leaked new details of how Hayden betrayed the public trust in probably more serious fashion than Edward Snowden has.

And yet somehow Michael Hayden continues to be the primary go-to guy to talk about how serious this leak is? Michael Hayden gets to opine about how Edward Snowden should be made an example of?

Now, perhaps applying Hayden’s own logic would have been valuable years ago. Perhaps if Hayden had been made an example of himself, after he betrayed the public trust and broke the law, we not only would have more trust in the NSA, but we have a better understanding of what NSA did then and is doing now.

But since we didn’t, Michael Hayden remains one primary exhibit about why Snowden’s leaks, however illegal, have a certain legitimacy.

Because so long as Michael Hayden runs free, we know the government refuses to police itself on these issues.

It’s all very rich for one criminal to call for another criminal to be made an example of. But the responsible press should at least point out how ironic it is that the criminal who escaped justice insists those who have exposed new details of his own crime get the full brunt of it.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

8 replies
  1. lefty665 says:

    Hayden is the one who rolled over for Duhbya and turned NSA inward to spy domestically. MOFO belongs in the dock right along with the rest of them.

    “…domestic spying initiatives, one of which the White House has dubbed the Terrorist Surveillance Program… Odom (former DIRNSA), no fan of Hayden’s, called the domestic surveillance an “egregious” violation of the law. He said Hayden and his staff must have been involved in developing the spying programs, because White House officials would have no way of knowing of the NSA’s capabilities.” May 2006 Chicago Trib

  2. Teddy says:

    Hayden’s been pointing fingers elsewhere ever since his NSA missed the obvious 9/11 warnings — something the PTB decided to call “connecting the dots” — even though connecting those dots was what the USA paid Michael Hayden’s NSA to do, and had for years. You’ll never see him taking responsibility, and I think he’s such a terrified bully to the press who cover him that they’ll never think to turn and ask, “But, on *your* watch….?”

  3. Eileen K. says:

    @newz4all: Well, time to arrest all the war criminals/traitors and prosecute them just as the Nazi war criminals were tried at Nuremberg following WWII. These scumbags have already committed the ultimate war crime, according to international law; that is, waging aggressive war; since all other crimes follow suit.

  4. Nathanael says:

    Hayden is talking for his life. He knows he’s not only a criminal, but an actual traitor to the United States, and he knows that even if this government doesn’t execute Hayden for his crimes, a subsequent one probably will. So he’s spewing words as fast as possible in an attempt to avoid the guillotine.

  5. walsingham says:

    All of these Strangelovian architects of the surveillance state give me the willies, Chertoff, Hayden, Alexander and dozens of others.

  6. William Fuller says:

    Thanks to Eileen K. Her comment was exactly right. Our govt DID commit the ultimate war crime, which is launching a war of aggression. The newspapers and t.v. reporters will never say that because everyone involved would be fired immediately and blackballed for life.
    And I have a particular grudge against the disgraceful dishonorable coward Eric Holder, Attorney General of the U.S. The constitution states that dereliction of duty is an impeachable offense, but none of the fools in congress and no one in the press is demanding that Mr. Holder be held accountable for his failure to enforce U.S. law.

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