A Guy Eavesdropped On The Former NSA Director’s Off-The-Record Conversation And Live Tweeted It

Tom Matzzie, a political strategist, sat behind Michael Hayden on an Amtrak train and overheard his phone conversation with a journalist. posted on

Michael Hayden, ex-NSA director and “best seatmate ever”

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Tom Matzzie, entrepreneur and eavesdropper

Twitter: @tommatzzie


Tom Matzzie, founder of the Ethical Electric Company and former director of MoveOn.org, found himself sitting near ex-NSA director Michael Hayden on the Acela Express outside Philadelphia. Hayden was on the phone with a reporter, apparently “bashing” the Obama administration in connection with the recent revelations that the NSA had monitored the phone calls of at least 35 world leaders.

Matzzie began his own surveillance of Hayden’s conversation and live tweeted it to his 4,000+ followers.

On Acela listening to former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden give "off record" interviews. I feel like I'm in the NSA. Except I'm in public.

Former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden on Acela behind me blabbing "on background as a former senior admin official" Sounds defensive.

Michael Hayden on Acela giving reporters disparaging quotes about admin. "Remember, just refer as former senior admin" #exNSAneedsadayjob

On Acela: Michael Hayden was talking to Massimo Calabresi at TIME I am pretty sure. Does he tweet?

On Acela: former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden just ended last of handful of interviews bashing admin.

On Acela: Hayden's comments to press were clearly about NSA spying on foreign allies. #haydenacela

At one point Matzzie thought he was going to get caught spying on Hayden.

On Acela: phone ringing. I think the jig is up. Maybe somebody is telling him I'm here. Do I hide?

But he didn’t.

I think I'm safe. Just passed Philly. No rendition yet. Do I have the balls to ask him for a photo? #haydenacela

He might even have landed an (on-the-record?) interview with Hayden.

On the pic. His office called him and then he graciously offered me an interview. We talked around the 4th amendment and foreign spying.

And they lived happily ever after.

I just had a very nice conversation with Michael Hayden. He was a gentleman and we disagree.

Maybe a little too happy.

Hayden just left train in Newark. He touched my back...again. I think a stop short actually.

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