A guy on Amtrak spied on the former NSA director

Spy vs. Spy come to life.

 

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Tech

Published Oct 25, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 3:24 am CDT

Tom Matzzie, the former director of MoveOn.org and founder of the Ethical Electric Company, got a big surprise when he sat down on Amtrak’s Acela Express near Philadelphia. Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden was sitting right behind Matzzie. 

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Better yet, Hayden appeared to be talking off the record to a reporter about the the Obama administration and recent revelations that the NSA had spied on the phone calls of 35 world leaders.

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“He was 7-8 feet away talking very loudly,” Matzzie told New York magazine. “I thought the former head of NSA and a retired general attacking the president on background was lame. Say it in a book like everyone else.”

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

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

Hayden talking about a famous blackberry now.

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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Hayden was bragging about rendition and black sites a minute ago.

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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.

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

Then the question was, how long until Matzzie was busted? And what would happen at that point?

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

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

New call. I am totally busted I think.

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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In case you weren’t sure, Matzzie made clear his feelings about Hayden.

There is a faint smell of sulfur on the train. #Haydenacela

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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Finally, the icing on the cake. Matzzie and Hayden meet.

Win pic.twitter.com/tsJHqjv1LM

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

Global surveillance programs aside, Matzzie also answered the really important questions.

For those asking, this was not the quiet car. So he wasn’t THAT guy.

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013

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Instead of being kidnapped and taken to a secret prison, Matzzie was spotlighted by media the world over. He made the New York Times, Le Monde, and even landed an exclusive interview with the Today Show. Well, almost.

Today Show cancelled. Makes sense. My tweets not real news.

— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 25, 2013

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*First Published: Oct 25, 2013, 10:50 am CDT