Michael HaydenPosted 12 months ago under Bias, Conspiracies
Michael Hayden (born March 17, 1945) is a retired four-star general and the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the country. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He acquired his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Duquesne University in 1967 where he proceeded to get his Master of Arts in modern American History. During his time at the university, he also participated in the Reserve Officer Training Corps Program, from which he was commissioned into active service in 1969.
He first became an analyst and briefer at the Headquarters Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska from 1970 to 1972. Hayden held many other positions such as being the Commander of the Air Intelligence Agency, Director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center, and the Deputy Chief of Staff of the United Nations Command and the U.S. Forces in South Korea before being inducted as the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) in 1999.
Eavesdropping scandal during his term as the Director of the NSA
Hayden served as the Director of the NSA until April 2005, when he was designated as the first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence. However, in December of the same year, a scandal broke out regarding NSA’s alleged domestic wiretaps on U.S. citizens and its terrorist surveillance program, which were launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
These programs raised a lot of questions regarding their legality since they allow for warrantless electronic eavesdropping of phone calls and emails of everyone in the U.S. Typically, warrants should be obtained from a special court formed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act before placing wiretaps. However, the White House argued that even if this court approves almost all requests, the court process prevents them from immediately intercepting critical calls.
Hayden addressed his involvement in this scandal and defended the NSA’s practice of warrantless surveillance when he spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. After his speech, Hayden was interrogated by a reporter from the Knight Ridder who noted that it is written in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that there should be probable cause before doing searches and seizures in order for them to be legal. However, Hayden claimed that he is extremely familiar with the Fourth Amendment and that it “protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure…” but it does not say probable, only unreasonable. He was later criticized for this exchange because of his unfamiliarity with the Fourth Amendment, even though he claims to be an expert on it.
Latter court hearings revealed that even Michael Hayden had initial doubts regarding the legality of these programs. According to him, NSA was already doing the best that they can regarding legal surveillance at that time. But after talking to then-Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet and the administration, he decided that the Agency could “go further.” In addition, former Attorney General Josh Ashcroft gave the NSA a memo regarding the basis for giving them the authority to eavesdrop, which Hayden claimed that he did not read before launching the programs.
Prior to the launching of these programs, Hayden and the administration did not inform the whole committee regarding their decisions. Then-Senator Ron Wyden said, “We as a country weren’t part of any effort to set the standards in these programs, and most of the members of this committee were kept in the dark and weren’t part of any informed debate about these programs.” Senator Olympia Snowe also added that the failure to consult or inform the Congress prevented them from performing their oversight role in the government.
In response to this, Hayden claims that the program is completely legal and necessary to protect the nation. Moreover, he stated that even though there are privacy concerns he was “very comfortable with what the agency did and what [he] did personally to inform those people responsible for oversight.”
Head of CIA
Even with these issues from Hayden’s time as NSA Director, he was still confirmed as CIA Director in 2006. But the time he served in this position was nothing short of controversial. There were rising complaints and criticisms regarding the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, which Hayden continuously defended. However, when the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released their executive summary regarding CIA’s interrogation and detention program, it was discovered that there were many lies in Hayden’s April 12, 2007 testimony in front of the Committee, especially with regards to the program’s success and the CIA’s treatment of detainees.
According to Hayden, there were only 97 detainees since the start of their program, which led to the production of more than 8,000 intelligence reports. However, upon investigation, it was revealed that the CIA has had at least 118 detainees and that they produced a very limited number of intelligence reports, with approximately 34 percent of them not producing any reports at all. In addition, Hayden claimed that the reports made by their detainees were important for the capture of key Al-Qaeda members. But this was also discovered to be inaccurate by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Regarding the treatment of their detainees, Hayden claimed that no abuse took place under their watch. However, the Senate Intelligence Committee report revealed that some detainees experienced treatments that were beyond the scope of the program, including excessive waterboarding sessions, manipulation of diet, punches and kicks, and threats of sodomy or the arrest of family members. Furthermore, the report revealed that some detainees suffered from psychological problems and severe physical injuries as a result of abuse, even though Hayden claimed that the most serious injury that detainees got was bruising due to shackling.
Involvement in the Chertoff Group and NewsGuard
In 2009, Michael Hayden stepped down from his position as Director of the CIA and joined the Chertoff Group, founded by Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. This company, of which Hayden is now the Principal, aims to provide their clients with advise regarding security and risk management, involving cyber security as well as natural or man-made disasters.
Michael Hayden is also an advisory board member of the “news rating agency” NewsGuard, which was formed by the journalists Steven Brill and Louis Gordon Crovitz. NewsGuard claims to protect people from fake news by using a color-coded rating system to indicate a site’s credibility. However, many question this agency’s ability to function without bias due to its deep connections with the U.S. government, neoconservatives, and other powerful moneyed interests.
This doubt is further perpetuated by the green light which NewsGuard has given to websites like CNN and The Washington Post, even if they have been proven to publish false stories. Moreover, the U.S. state-funded media outlet, the Voice of America, which has been reformed to “provide news that supports our [U.S.] national security objectives” was given a high rating. Meanwhile RT, which publishes reports that are critical of the U.S. government and its allies, was said to lack credibility just because it is funded by the Russian government and it “[raises] doubts about other countries and their institutions.”