Former National Security Agency and CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden declared Gmail the preferred email service of terrorists Sunday.
In a speech defending the legal basis for the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, Hayden said “Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide,” as quoted by the Washington Post. The retired general likely meant to say email service provider rather than Internet service provider.
“I don’t think you’re going to see that in a Google commercial, but it’s free, it’s ubiquitous, so of course it is,” he added.
Hayden also implied that NSA surveillance was justified by the United States’ particular history with the Internet.
“We built it here, and it was quintessentially American,” he continued. For that reason, according to the Post, Hayden said a large volume of Internet traffic goes through American servers where the government “takes a picture of it for intelligence purposes.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.