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Guy On Train Live Tweets Former CIA Chief's On-Background Interview

Posted: October 24, 2013

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Tom Matzzie eavesdropped on the conversation during a ride on the Acela. He says Ret. Gen. Michael Hayden disparaged the Obama administration.

Ret. Gen. Michael Hayden, right, and Tom Matzzie.

Ret. Gen. Michael Hayden, right, and Tom Matzzie.

You'd think he'd be more careful: The man who was once responsible for the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency was giving a background interview during a train ride, but he didn't notice that a fellow passenger was live tweeting the highlights.

In truth, we didn't learn any secrets from Ret. Gen. Michael Hayden, but Tom Matzzie, who used to work for the liberal group MoveOn.org, provided a riveting — and funny — account of the ordeal on his Twitter feed.

Matzzie said Hayden told the journalists that he could only be identified as a former senior administration official and then went on to give "disparaging quotes about" the Obama administration. At one point Hayden, said Matzzie, was "bragging about rendition and black sites."

Hayden, you might remember, served as the NSA director under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He served as CIA director for Bush and President Obama. Currently, he works for the Chertoff Group.

As you might imagine, eventually Hayden got a call from his office telling him what was going on. Matzzie wondered if he should hide. But Hayden graciously offered an interview and even took a picture with Matzzie.

Eventually, Matzzie tweeted, Hayden got off the train in Newark.

"He touched my back ... again," Matzzie tweeted, before adding that he was about to get off the train himself and someone should "email my wife and explain all this."

Micah Sifry, the co-founder of Personal Democracy Forum, Storified the entire thing:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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