11 Comments

Summary:

There was probably more than a little gloating when former NSA chief Michael Hayden found a fellow passenger on his Amtrak train live-tweeting his off-the-record interviews with journalists

The National Security Agency has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention over the past few months for its massive surveillance program, including an eavesdropping campaign involving hundreds of thousands of phone calls — some of those belonging to prominent politicians such as German chancellor Angela Merkel — so there was likely more than a little Schadenfreude when a passenger on the Washington-New York commuter train started live-tweeting a conversation by former NSA chief Michael Hayden.

The former spy chief, who also used to run the CIA, was apparently giving interviews to a number of journalists and other sources while sitting on the train — interviews in which he criticized the government, and asked to be referred to as a “former senior admin.” Tom Matzzie, a political strategist who used to work for MoveOn.org, recognized Hayden and began posting updates about his conversations:

At one point, Matzzie noted on Twitter that he isn’t a journalist — but he might as well be, because his live commentary was quickly picked up by dozens of political and news outlets as it was happening. His actions fall into a category that some call “citizen journalism” and others see as just an expansion of the eyewitness-to-news phenomenon that has always existed. Some, like NPR digital editor Andy Carvin, like to call what Matzzie did “random acts of journalism.”

Unlike some of the NSA’s surveillance targets, Hayden didn’t seem to mind when he heard from his staff that Matzzie was posting live Twitter updates on his interviews: in fact, he stopped by Matzzie’s seat and had his photo taken with him. He told the Washington Post later, however, that the interpretation of his calls were just a “bull**** story from a liberal activist.”

Thumbnail photo courtesy of Shutterstock / Lightspring

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  1. Douglas Garstang Thursday, October 24, 2013

    God, what a scumbag.

    1. I don’t agree that god is a scumbag. What has he done in order for you to call him that?

      1. I’m working on a list, but I think it’ll be way over the character-count limit.

      2. 1) Read the Old Testament
        2) Learn some grammar. A comma sets off an interjection (which this is), and for the interpretation you’re (hopefully jokingly) putting forth, that comma would have to be a colon.

        1. What comma?

        2. I’m ten years old u b****!

    2. He’s a scumbag second only to Obama.

  2. I love how everyone has the right to publish. The days of high priced journalists and journalist superstars is gone, or simply fading rapidly.

    Frankly, it’s a bit of a relief.

    1. I have the right to be an airline pilot. Keep the faith QuietCar and maybe someday I’ll get to fly your entire family to its final destination someday. Have you heard the radio lately? Just bursting at the seams with people who have the right to be talented, but unfortunately, aren’t. Ahh the sweet sweet sound of Capitalisnt. Coming to an occupation near you, soon! Relief today / RELEIVED tomorrow. Enjoy.

  3. Paul Sweeting Friday, October 25, 2013

    A random act of social journalism that big-footed a traditional, conspiratorial (between reporter and source) act of journalism and outed them both. A very interesting juxtaposition or worlds.

    1. Agreed, Paul.

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