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Ex-NSA/CIA chief Hayden jokes of putting Snowden on kill list

Published time: October 03, 2013 14:45
Edited time: October 04, 2013 01:42
Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

When it comes to Edward Snowden, it's reasonable to expect a little hard talk from former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden. After all, it is HIS baby that’s been shamed by Snowden’s leaks.

But hinting that there are ‘lists’ on which Snowden should be is taking things to a new level.

Speaking at a panel discussion on Thursday, the ex-NSA director made it clear that he’s aware of Snowden's nomination for a European Human Rights Award.

But Hayden revealed that he’d rather see the NSA whistleblower on a kill list than a short-list:

"I must admit in my darker moments over the past several months, I'd also thought of nominating Mr. Snowden, but it was for a different list," Hayden said during a cybersecurity panel hosted by the Washington Post.

As the audience laughed, US lawmaker Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, offered Hayden his support: "I can help you with that," he said. 

Though Hayden didn’t specify exactly what list he had in mind, the idea was crystal clear and fits with the threatening tone of previous statements he’s made on Snowden. He has previously equated Snowden’s hacktivist supporters to terrorists, dubbing them “twentysomethings who haven't talked to the opposite sex in five or six years” and labeled Snowden himself a ‘morally arrogant young man’ who will probably ‘end up like an alcoholic’

Regardless, this latest 'kill list' remark is the most sinister of all Hayden’s thinly veiled threats towards Edward Snowden.

The NSA whistleblower has recently made the shortlist of finalists for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Snowden is wanted in the US on espionage charges, after leaking secret documents revealing the US surveillance program PRISM used to gather private data.

In August, he was granted temporary asylum in Russia, where he currently resides.

UPDATE: Mr. Hayden elaborated on his comments on Thursday via email to RT's Marina Portnaya.

"The quote is correct," writes Hayden. "I was intentionally broad and undefined and it was never a proposal."

"I never suggested he be put on any list. I simply reflected ruminations in my darker moments," he adds.

Comments (80)


William Lardieri 01.02.2014 03:43

I'm all for the CIA and the NSA spying on our enemies in the interest of national security. But spying on our own citizens should be outlawed and anyone responsible for any agency doing so should be held criminally as well as civilly responsible. The constitutional rights of U.S. Citizens must be upheld at all costs. We cannot let history repeat itself. The implications of the U.S. Government spying on its own citizens is indicative of The Third Reich!


Jay Lindberg 05.01.2014 05:36

General Hayden knew when he made the implied hit list statement, it could end up gallows human. I agree. The more I learn about the government, the more I appreciate the French revolution .


Laura Ong 02.11.2013 11:08

It looks like he is now on THAT LIST...

sno wden - advisable to store your sperm now...

View all comments (80)
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