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20 February 2013

National Security in the Digital Age: Review

Michael Hayden, Ex-CIA and Ex-NSA head, discusses "National Security in the Digital Age" on C-SPAN. Hayden avidly defends use of murderous drones with "we are at war," and repeats the phrase several times in formulaicly grave tones and glares  -- the most beloved mantra of militarists. Then declines to affirm or deny CIA has a drone program, "remember, the CIA has never admitted using drones."

In one of the few admissions of CIA error, Hayden says the agency has become dominated by OSS-like military operations at the expense of its primary intelligence mission, that the military ops were appropriate to 9/11 but now believes CIA should return to its more important role.

He claims that in a state of war things are done that should not be prolonged, that wartime powers given to the natsec agencies should be balanced with other national requirements. In response to an audience question about why only the US has a drone warfare program, he answers that the American people and US allies seem to not understand the US is currently at war.

Hayden laughs and jokes a lot, a peculiar behavior for an avowedly grave topic. His bizarre twisting, jerking, spastic body language indicates roiling contempt of the naive questions being asked and evaded. Hayden exhibits characteristic, Petraeus-like, attributes of a trypical military careerist kiss-upper, kick-downer, a vain double-speaker masking intellectual incapability, condescending of civilians without access to secrets, a grandstanding surrogate hero relishing being at the top, mingling with and succoring global prominents (who will hire ex-natsecs to advise and promote warfare) -- job requirements to military pinnacle. 

This behavior may derive from Hayden being among the horde of natsec-exes managed by speaker bureaus and shows the silly mannerisms required to be "appealing" overlaid long-practiced WMD-terrifying. Hayden noted WMD now means Weapons of Mass Disruption to flog and finance terrifying cyberwar threats -- both by and against the US. He emphasizes that the US has masterful technology to address cyber threats but is constrained, to his regret, by political and social clamor about using that technology against the homeland and foreign innocents.

Noteably, when Hayden loses a train of thought or fails to dreg a glib answer, he leans toward interlocutor Frank Sesno and blurts as if pre-metronomed by advanced officer school and sales, "we are at war."

Observe Hayden's use of three fingers, four fingers, ticking off points as if to a crowd of subordinates, pointed looks at friendlies in the audience, nodding "you know what I mean." Among us secrets-knowers, he fingers coded signals, "let's play the game of taunting with tidbits what others cannot be allowed to know we are stealing from them," as he is quoted in the title of Gibney's documentary "We Steal Secrets."

This signature behavior of officials who have been carefully briefed to say little in public while implying much in secret is endemic in the world's capitals of testimony and public speaking. Banal, numbing, open information to tease about the classified and confidential only to be delivered in "closed sessions" to those willing to keep the secrets. "Closed sessions" refutation of democracy for its seemingly always at risk, at war, top security.

Excessive, vulgar joshing between Hayden and Sesno, alternating with mock gravitas of the drone-slaughter rationale "we are at war" red-phone cliche, exemplifying mutual caressing and pandering of spies and journalists in sessions closed to the public but branded and hyped with "anonymous sources" and "leaks."

Hayden likes the CIA-propaganda film Zero Dark Thirty, with slight demur about artistic license. Crows "I know the real CIA heroine and bin Laden hunters," not naming Frances Bikowsky, Stephen Nicgorski and band of assassins. With clips of and comments on Homeland Hayden and Sesno parade consummate failure of public responsibility -- inbred NatSec idiocy -- of knowing and over-protecting insiders too well, advanced by lurid entertainment and vapid interviews complicity

A word about Hayden's physical flabbiness, a characteristic of military members of spy agencies -- except for Petraeus. Not needing physical prowess for combat, one might wonder if the physical indolence is deliberate, vaunting mind over muscle, as a mark of superiority now newly institutionalized with the Distinguished Warfare Medal for drone pilots and hackers. Certainly that reward for arrogance over drone targets and clueless Internet users vaunts flab as a war winner, sure to flatter fat-headed gastronomes of all ideologies.

The C-SPAN show is a repugnant, vacuous public relations DC faux natsec simpering horror show, watch it, upload to YouTube, crowd source -- Hayden touts crowd sourcing for espionage exploitation.