Daily Dispatches
Michael Hayden, former CIA and and National Security Agency director.
Associated Press/Photo by Chris Usher/CBS News
Michael Hayden, former CIA and and National Security Agency director.

Midday Roundup: Former NSA chief caught giving ‘private’ interview on train

Newsworthy

Loose lips. A former National Security Administration director learned the hard way Thursday not to have private conversations on a crowded Amtrak train. Michael Hayden, who headed the agency between 1999 and 2005, boarded the train and almost immediately started talking to someone on his cell phone. A few seats away, Tom Matzzie, a former Washington director of the political group MoveOn.org, was listening in. Matzzie soon figured out who Hayden was and who he was talking to “off the record”—Time’s national security reporter, Massimo Calabresi. Matzzie began tweeting snatches of the conversation, and his posts quickly went viral. He claimed Hayden was criticizing the Obama administration, charges Hayden later denied. When Matzzie realized his tweets were spreading all over the internet, he speculated a security team might jump on the train at any minute to take him in for questioning. None ever did, but eventually Hayden hung up and walked over to Matzzie to ask if he wanted a real interview. NSA officials might be relieved the agency is making headlines for something other than its not-so-super-secret electronic spying programs. But this story isn’t likely to restore confidence in the agency’s trustworthiness or discretion.

Rolling protest. A group of women in Saudi Arabia are planning to protest their country’s ban on female drivers tomorrow by getting behind the wheel and taking to the roads. The government has threatened to penalize anyone caught “inciting” such lawlessness. Although Saudi women have gained more freedom in recent years, and will even be able to vote and run in municipal elections in 2015, many want more freedom. Women now must hire drivers or rely on relatives to take them to work, school, or shopping. “I don’t think Saudis look down on women,” said May al-Suwayan, a 32-year-old economic researcher. “I think it’s a matter of fear of change, which will easily be overcome if women show them that we are ready.”

Dropped charges. Documents released today in response to a lawsuit filed by a Colorado reporter reveal a grand jury in 1999 voted to indict John and Patsy Ramsey in the death of their daughter JonBenet. The couple long maintained their innocence. The grand jury wanted the Ramseys charged with two counts each of child abuse resulting in their 6-year-old daughter’s death. They also approved charges of aiding whomever killed the child, although the jurors did not name a suspect in the crime. Prosecutors refused to press forward with the case, saying they did not have enough evidence to pursue the charges in court. Patsy Ramsey died in 2006. No one has ever been charged in the child’s death.

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Military shooting. A Tennessee National Guardsman is in custody after shooting two of his superiors during a fight at a Memphis-area armory on Thursday. The soldier, whose name has not been released, had just been disciplined before he opened fire with a handgun, hitting one victim in the foot and the other in the leg, according to authorities. Other soldiers at the facility subdued the shooter until police could arrive to arrest him. All three men served as recruiters for the National Guard.

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Atlanta and is the managing editor of WORLD's website.

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