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.

[snip]

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.

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