Beltway Confidential

Huffington Post blogger monitored ex-NSA chief's phone call

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Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,National Security,NSA,Surveillance

Former National Security Director Michael Hayden tried to give an interview to a reporter, but a liberal activist and Huffington Post blogger blew his cover.

"Michael Hayden on Acela giving reporters disparaging quotes about admin," tweeted Tom Matzzie, who quoted Hayden as saying, " 'Remember, just refer [to me] as [a] former senior admin.' " (Officials speaking to reporters on background often use the title "senior administration official.")

"I feel like I'm in the NSA," he also tweeted. "Except I'm in public."

Matzzie, who describes himself as a "MoveOn alum," who blogs at the Huffington Post, attracted the attention of Hayden's aides.

"On Acela: phone ringing. I think the jig is up," he tweeted. "Maybe somebody is telling him I'm here. Do I hide?"

Instead, after burning the other reporter's source, Matzzie got an interview for himself. "[Hayden's] office called him and then he graciously offered me an interview," he announced. "We talked around the Fourth Amendment and foreign spying."

The encounter left Matzzie thinking a bit better of Hayden, whom he described as a "gentleman," but still nervous about what might follow his encounter with the former spy boss.

"I'm actually a little afraid," he tweeted after the interview. "The intelligence world is kind of dark and scary."

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