Michael Hayden: Bulk Collection Is Better for Privacy than Particularized Collection

Michael Hayden’s wisdom:

Frankly, metadata is one way that you arrive at those specific targeting conclusions in a way that certainly, from the American perspective, does not squeeze privacy very much because it is bulk collection, not particularized collection.

According to the former Director of NSA, bulk metadata collection is more privacy protective than particularized collection is.

I get what he’s trying to say: because the government works at the level of metadata, NSA only looks at communications from an structural perspective, rather than listening in to find what to listen to, until it has reason to be interested in. That ignores everything you see from that network structure, and the degree to which it infringes on perfectly innocent associations.

More importantly, that Hayden doesn’t understand that the statement itself is nonsensical is a testament to how far down the rabbit hole he has gone.

11 replies
  1. thatvisionthing says:

    He’s in Germany? And nobody arrested him?


    Glenn Greenwald: Here’s Michael Hayden. He oversaw the illegal warrantless eavesdropping program implemented under the Bush administration. He oversaw torture and rendition as the head of the CIA. James Clapper lied to the face of Congress. These are felonies… and yet they’re not prosecuted. They’re free to appear on television programs. The United States government in Washington constantly gives amnesty to its highest officials, even when they commit the most egregious crimes… And that’s why a hardened felon like Michael Hayden is free to walk around on the street and is treated on American media outlets as though he’s some learned, wisdom-drenched elder statesman, rather than what he is, which is a chronic criminal.

    Just something that came to mind. Michael Hayden, I know him, he’s that guy who gets to pretend I authorized his crimes. Empire security.

  2. thatvisionthing says:

    Well there’s lesson-learned remorse:

    Michael Hayden, a former director of the NSA, CIA and US national intelligence, tells DW he sees German anger at US spying as genuine and says the NSA shouldn’t have got caught tapping Chancellor Merkel’s phone.

    The teaser at the top of the German article. Man, I want to read more. Not.

  3. Yastreblyansky says:

    There’s another way of looking at it–particularizing collection is profiling, picking up data from people with “suspicious” characteristics (like having Muslim names). Bulk collection doesn’t project any ideas on the data–it’s pure noise, really, until you check out the specific number of an individual (hopefully with a warrant).

  4. thatvisionthing says:

    @C: Gulped big air, went back and checked. Yep, Germans are angry, but Michael Hayden soothes them:

    “One should not hold NSA or American intelligence up to some abstract idealistic model, but what has become accepted international practice, including practice conducted by the German security services.”

    “Abstract idealistic model” — I think he’s talking about the Constitution? So much for that oath thing? And talking trash about it to another country? I mean, treason? Please let me be on the jury. I seem to be Americanly furious.

    Wait a second… I bet this is against the German constitution too? Nice talking.

  5. Nigel says:

    “Ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centres at all. This aim was frankly admitted in the Newspeak word duckspeak […]. Like various words in the B vocabulary, duckspeak was ambivalent in meaning. Provided that the opinions which were quacked out were orthodox ones, it implied nothing but praise, and when the Times referred to one of the orators of the Party as a doubleplusgood duckspeaker it was paying a warm and valued compliment.” —Orwell, 1984

  6. Snoopdido says:

    If one follows Hayden’s twisted logic, he thinks that bulk strip-searching offers more privacy than individualized strip-searching.

    I think the former General has been looking at too much porn at the office.

  7. Evangelista says:

    The part of the DW DE article that best reveals the psychological mind-set of the US spying industry is this:

    “To be very honest with you, what we may or may not have been doing with regard to the chancellor and her cell phone is not nearly as serious an offence by us as the fact that we couldn’t keep that a secret. That put a good friend in a very embarrassing position, it offended her personally and it caused political problems for her. That’s our fault – we wronged our good friend by not being able to keep this secret.”

    He is saying ‘The only thing we did wrong was getting caught.” And he goes on:

    “We probably do owe the chancellor, the German government and the German people a little more transparency than we would otherwise be obliged to give, even between friends.”

    ‘Not because we did anything wrong, but only because we got caught. Because we were unable to keep our electronic breaking-and-entering under the radar…’

    It would be great if we were reading it in “Candide”, or watching it on “Monty Python”.

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