Terrorists Totally Into Gmail, Says Former NSA, CIA Boss

Michael Hayden: 'it's free, it's ubiquitous'

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 16, 2013 7:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – When it comes to email, terrorists have a clear favorite, says the former head of both the NSA and CIA: Gmail. Michael Hayden called it "the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide," though he appeared to mean email service rather than ISP, the Washington Post notes. "I don't think you're going to see that in a Google commercial, but it's free, it's ubiquitous, so of course it is," he added. Speaking during an adult education forum at St. John's Episcopal Church, near the White House, he also discussed "tension between security and liberty."

America "could be fairly charged with the militarization of the World Wide Web," he said, calling the Internet "quintessentially American." Washington's online surveillance, he noted, is partially explained by the fact that the US "built" the Internet and a lot of traffic travels via US servers. But Americans struggle with diverging views of the Web, whose anonymity frustrates Hayden: Is it "the global digital commons—at this point you should see butterflies flying here and soft background meadow-like music—or a global free-fire zone?"

In this Feb. 5, 2008, photo, then-CIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden testifies about world threats before a Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this Feb. 5, 2008, photo, then-CIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden testifies about world threats before a Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File)
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