The former head of America’s most powerful and secretive intelligence agencies thinks the U.S. government classifies too much information on cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
“Let me be clear: This stuff is overprotected,” writes retired four-star Gen. Michael Hayden, in the new issue of the Air Force’s Strategic Studies Quarterly. “It is far easier to learn about physical threats from U.S. government agencies than to learn about cyberthreats.”
Hayden knows something about secrets. The director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005, it was Hayden who implemented President George W. Bush’s secret warrantless wiretapping program. He went on to head the CIA until his retirement in 2008. Now at the Chertoff Group, Hayden emerged to attack WikiLeaks over its publication of U.S. military and diplomatic secrets last year.
But for a top spook, Hayden always had a unexpected soft spot for transparency. Until the Sept. 11 attacks turned government secrecy into a fetish, Hayden had been nudging NSA toward a bit of glasnost. And at his confirmation hearings for the CIA role, he admitted: “I do think we overclassify, and I think it’s because we got bad habits.”