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Former NSA Director Speaks Out Against FBI Head’s Call for More Surveillance Powers

Michael Hayden

Retired Gen. Michael Hayden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey has been lobbying hard for legislation that would require technology companies to create a back door to access encrypted communications by terrorists.

The plan is so controversial that the former head of the NSA and CIA told The Daily Beast that he is opposed to it.

“I hope Comey’s right, and there’s a deus ex machina that comes on stage in the fifth act and makes the problem go away,” retired Gen. Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA and the NSA, told The Daily Beast. “If there isn’t, I think I come down on the side of industry. The downsides of a front or back door outweigh the very real public safety concerns.”

According to investigators, recruiters of terrorists use encrypted systems such as WhatsApp.

“We need,” Comey said, “to be able to get access to the information in those targeted individual cases.”

The problem, however, is that opening up a door for the FBI also allows access to others, such as hackers.

“A hole is a hole,” Hayden said. “Given that reality, Americans are well-served by a high water level of security for everyone.”


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