Author Topic: Pittsburgh accent of former spy chief Michael Hayden was invitation to eavesdrop  (Read 338 times)

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Tom Matzzie could hear it in the stranger's voice -- between words like "black sites" and "rendition."

Mr. Matzzie hadn't lived in Western Pennsylvania since he graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in 1993, but he never lost his trained ear for Pittsburghese.

Just a few seats away from him on an Oct. 24 Amtrak train from Washington, D.C., sat a man with a recognizable face giving a series of interviews about the National Security Agency. And every now and then, this stranger rounded his Os.

Soon enough, Mr. Matzzie, a self-described progressive, realized his fellow passenger was Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and CIA under President George W. Bush. An Internet search confirmed his other suspicion: Gen. Hayden, like Mr. Matzzie, was from Pittsburgh.

Within an hour these two Pittsburghers -- separated by political ideology and a handful of seats on an Amtrak train -- were connected by a news story that quickly spread through social media and eventually ended up in newspapers across the country, including this one.

Gen. Hayden was giving interviews on background to a number of journalists. To Mr. Matzzie, it sounded as if Gen. Hayden was criticizing the Obama administration. In a later interview with the Washington Post, his only public comment since the incident, Gen. Hayden insisted he was not.

"Eventually I thought, 'This is newsworthy,' " Mr. Matzzie said in an interview Friday. " 'Maybe I'll tweet about it.' I was probably the absolute worst person for this to happen to Michael Hayden."

Mr. Matzzie, 38, has spent most of his professional life working for liberal and progressive causes. The former Washington director of the liberal political group has spent the past two years building Ethical Electric, a Washington-based energy company that lets users buy renewable energy, such as wind and solar ....

Somewhere between Washington and Philadelphia, he found himself connected to a big story -- listening to a former NSA and CIA director give anonymous interviews as the country debates the role and scope of the NSA. In a span of 40 minutes, Mr. Matzzie fired off 14 tweets detailing Gen. Hayden's conversations. He later wrote of his concerns about what would happen when someone informed the former NSA director what was transpiring. ...

Full story at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but rather he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” Samuel Adams, April 16, 1781.

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