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Hayden Calls on NBC to Challenge Snowden's Falsehoods

Image: Hayden Calls on NBC to Challenge Snowden's Falsehoods
Michael Hayden

By    |   Wednesday, 28 May 2014 11:20 PM

A former head of the CIA and National Security Agency hopes NBC posed tough questions to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked classified documents to the media, in an exclusive interview scheduled for broadcast Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

Michael Hayden, a retired four-star Army general, said he would have challenged Snowden on an array of falsehoods and questionable claims he made about his activities. Snowden, now living in self-imposed exile in Russia, sat down with NBC anchorman Brian Williams for the hour-long interview.

“I’d expect [Williams] to ask him questions and follow-ups that challenge and discomfit,” he wrote in a column in
The Washington Times.

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Snowden, in explaining his decision to leak classified information, cited evasive comments about NSA electronic spying from
James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, at a Senate intelligence committee hearing in March 2013.

But Hayden writes that Snowden began offering to reveal secret documents to journalists in December 2012 and January 2013.

Hayden said he hopes Williams asked Snowden if he was prepared to leak the documents months before Clapper’s testimony.

One week before Snowden fled Hong Kong last year, the London Guardian used documents Snowden supplied to break a story that U.S. intelligence had intercepted Russian President Dimitri Medvedev’s satellite phone while he attended a summit in England.

Hayden noted that wiretapping the Russian president is a far cry from Snowden’s complaints about the NSA’s “mass, suspicionless surveillance” he used to justify the release of the classified documents. He said he hoped Williams asked if Snowden’s motive was to exchange U.S. secrets for safe passage to another country.

Based on documents leaked by Snowden, the newspapers Le Monde and El Pais claimed NSA  was collecting vast amounts of data each month on French and Spanish citizens. But the information in question was actually gathered by French and Spanish intelligence in war zones and transmitted to NSA to help protect U.S. troops from enemy attack.

Hayden says Snowden should be asked: “Didn’t you know that?”   

Snowden claims to have attempted to express his concerns about NSA activities through proper channels, only to be told not to rock the boat. But the agency says it has found no evidence to back Snowden’s claim. Noting that he took thousands of documents, Hayden says Snowden should be challenged to produce “a single email”  proving that he is telling the truth when he claims his efforts to go through legitimate channels were rebuffed.

Hayden noted that a Defense Intelligence Agency report described the damage done by Snowden’s disclosures at the Pentagon was “grave” and “staggering.”  If Snowden’s actual goal was to prevent unauthorized surveillance of the American public , he should be asked why he accessed U.S. military secrets, according to Hayden.

Hayden expressed hope that Williams would ask Snowden questions more probing than, “How are you finding life in Russia?”


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A former head of the CIA and National Security Agency hopes NBC posed tough questions to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked classified documents to the media, in an exclusive interview scheduled for broadcast Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern time.
NSA, Snowden, NBC
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2014-20-28
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 11:20 PM
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