Saturday, March 19, 2016

Ex-CIA Chief Michael Hayden: Yes, We Spy

Jeff Stein at Newsweek offers a piece on former CIA and NSA director retired Air Force General Michael V. Hayden's response to the current CIA director's assertion that the CIA "does not steal secrets."

Former CIA chief Michael Hayden drew laughs from a banquet room full of former intelligence officers Friday when he was asked about an assertion by the current spy agency’s head, John Brennan, that the CIA doesn’t “steal secrets.”
In a February 24 interview on National Public Radio that drew public ridicule from some former spies, Brennan was asked about hints from President Barack Obama that he’d like to get the CIA back to “its traditional roots—espionage, stealing secrets—reversing this trend we've seen toward a paramilitary force,” as NPR interviewer Mary Louise Kelly put it.
“We don’t steal secrets,” Brennan responded. “We uncover, we discover, we reveal, we obtain, we elicit, we solicit. All of that.”
That came as a surprise to former operatives who spent their careers stealing secrets.
"Is he joking?" a former CIA senior manager, John Sipher, complained in an essay on The Cipher Brief, a national security-oriented website. “Let me be clear…what my colleagues and I did in the CIA was espionage—stealing secrets. We didn’t ‘discover,’ we stole.”
In reality, CIA operatives—case officers in spy argot—actually get other people—foreigners, for the most part—to steal secrets for them. Or as Sipher put it: “People with access to secrets who were well aware that they were risking their lives, and possibly those of their families, to steal information for the U.S.”
... “One of the things that distinguishes the CIA from the State Department,” Hayden said, “is that the CIA is both asked to, and authorized to, steal secrets. So if the question is whether the CIA steals secrets, the answer is yes.”
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Note: General Hayden's new book is called Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror 

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