Train passenger tweets former NSA's phone conversation

Tom Matzzie tweeted former NSA chief Michael Hayden's phone conversation on a train. (Source: CNN)
Tom Matzzie tweeted former NSA chief Michael Hayden's phone conversation on a train. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - The tables have turned. Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden had a mole of his own on the Acela train Thursday afternoon.

Nearby passenger Tom Matzzie eavesdropped on a phone conversation between Hayden and an unknown journalist, live tweeting notes, and he wasn't on the quiet car.

Matzzie does not regret tweeting the conversation.

"He has no expectation of privacy. He's in a public place. He's the loud guy on the bus, the loud guy on the train, the loud guy talking on his phone in the middle of the restaurant, and he's saying things that are newsworthy. It's actually newsworthy whether or not the former head of the NSA is making disparaging comments about the president of the United States."

Hayden, a CNN.com contributor, told CNN he "had a nice chat with my fellow Pittsburgher" on his way. Both men hail from Pittsburgh.

"Not sure what he thinks bashing the Administration means," Hayden said in a statement, adding he didn't criticize President Barack Obama. "I actually said these are very difficult issues. I said I had political guidance, too, that limited the things that I did when I was director of NSA. Now that political guidance is going to be more robust. It wasn't a criticism."

Hayden was appointed by President George W. Bush as CIA director in 2006 and served until February 2009. Before that he served as director of the NSA from 1999 to 2005.

Some of the tweets include:

  • "Former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden on Acela behind me blabbing "on background as a former senior admin official" Sounds defensive."
  • "Hayden talking about a famous blackberry now."
  • "Hayden was bragging about rendition and black sites a minute ago."
  • "Michael Hayden on Acela giving reporters disparaging quotes about admin. "Remember, just refer as former senior admin"
  • "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 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."
  • "On Acela: phone ringing. I think the jig is up. Maybe somebody is telling him I'm here. Do I hide?"

In the end, Matzzie got a picture with the former NSA chief. Matzzie said on Twitter that Hayden offered him an interview, but he asked for a photo instead. He added that the two had a chat about the Fourth Amendment, but ended their disagreement on good terms.

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

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