Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mike Hayden: "Privately security professionals paint a world even more dangerous"

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, stands on the far left.

Mike Hayden, a close friend of Sec Fear Malcolm P. Stag III, served as director of the National Security Agency (NSA) from 1999–2005.  As NSA director, Mike was instrumental in turning the apparatus of American's spy technology "inward" so that the government could monitor the private phone conversations of the American people without any judicial oversight.

Having overseen signal intelligence assets that only narrowly missed detecting the terrorists who planned  the catastrophic attacks of 9/11, Mike has long been regarded as a true hero in the Global War on Terror.    Mike performed so well as leader of America's "electronic spy agency" that in 2006 he was promoted by Vice President Dick Cheney to serve as CIA director.  
Tuesday, in an op-ed for CNN, Mike explained "Who's to blame for damage from WikiLeaks?":
If anything, the private conversations of diplomats and security professionals paint a world even more dangerous than the one we usually allow ourselves to describe publicly. And there seems to be more consistency with this American worldview on the part of our friends and allies than is generally admitted. Quite an exposé.
Now what will this and the previous dumps cost us? With a certainty approaching 1.0, it will cost us sources. Some described in previous releases will be killed. Others, like those who described the inner workings of the formation of the German government, will simply refuse to talk to Americans.... 
SIPRNET, the Department of Defense network from which these documents were stolen, has a vast array of data available to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. We will now conclude that this is too much information and too many people, and we will once again be trading off potential physical safety for information security. It will set back the kind of information sharing that has actually made us safer since 9/11.
Who bears responsibility for this? The prime culprits are clear. 
There is, of course, the original leaker of the data. Then there is Julian Assange, whom I have described previously as "a dangerous combination of arrogance and incompetence." Listing global infrastructure sites that are critical and vulnerable is not transparency; it is perfidy.
"Partially and indirectly" Mike blames the Obama Administration [note: publicly DoF does not]:
But it was the Obama campaign that made a fetish of openness and transparency, and both the candidate and Harold Koh (then dean of the Yale Law School and now the top lawyer at the State Department) railed against the allegedly excessive secrecy of the Bush administration.
When President Obama decided to make public the details of a covert action of his predecessor -- the CIA interrogation program -- his spokesman defended the move as part of the president's standing commitment to transparency. Things may look different now, but actions and rhetoric have consequences.
And I would especially include the one U.S. news organization that has aggressively maneuvered to have early access to the Wiki dumps -- The New York Times. The Times could have said no to partnering with Assange. But the Times decided instead to attach what exists of its prestige to Assange's piratical enterprise, even though it had to obtain this latest WikiLeaks dump through a third party.
Essentially, The Cheney Administration had successfully created an environment in which secrecy was the norm.  But years of hard work were undone when the Obama campaign irresponsibly indulged the fantasies of the extreme left fringe of the Democratic Party.   Of course, today Obama exhibits a mature approach to secrecy -- as a president must -- but the rhetoric of the 2008 presidential campaign sent the wrong message to society at large.  The result?  Mainstream liberal media indulgence of WikiLeaks criminality.

It's one thing when government officials eavesdrop on the private conversations of the people, it's quite another when WikiLeaks presumes to allow the people to hear the secret conversations of their leaders. Mike understands this distinction and the extreme danger posed by the latter.

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Dr. Rebecca Wolf
Undersecretary for Community and New Media
United States Department of Fear