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Ex-NSA head Michael Hayden on why he backs Apple in fight over iPhone 'back doors'

"Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror" by General Michael V. Hayden
Penguin Random House

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The secret cellphone metadata collection program Stellarwind became household knowledge in 2009, after files obtained by CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden were published in the Guardian newspaper.

The man at the helm of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time is Michael Hayden, author of the new book, “Playing to the Edge.” Hayden has the distinction to be the only person to have led both the CIA and the NSA, and uses the book to give Americans a chance to look at the inner workings of both agencies, and what the intelligence community does for the country’s safety.

Since the leak of the Snowden files, the work of both agencies have come under sustained attack from civil liberties advocates. Hayden defends the use of intelligence collecting programs like Stellarwind, asserting that robust safeguards have been put into place to ensure that these sensitive data do not fall into the wrong hands.

What does Hayden think about the dustup over Apple’s refusal to help unlock the iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorists? How is the battle between privacy and national security going to play out in the future?

Michael Hayden will be at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, CA today at 7:00pm to talk about his book and America’s intelligence wars. Click here for ticket information.


General Michael Hayden, author of “Playing to the Edge: American intelligence in the Age of Terror” (Penguin, 2016).  He was the head of both the CIA and NSA