Former NSA head says Gmail is number one ... with terrorists

Even as Google and other tech companies file lawsuits against the U.S. government for the right to reveal more information on how their data is collected and used by spy organizations, former director of both the NSA and CIA Michael Hayden claimed today that Google's Gmail is a favorite source of communication with terrorists.

The Washington Post reports that, during an address at an adult education forum in Washington D.C., Hayden claimed today that "Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide." It's more than possible that Hayden confused "Internet service provider" with simply "Internet service." Even with that slight terminology error, Hayden continued with his Gmail-terrorism statement, saying, "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."

Hayden defended the NSA's Internet surveillance program PRISM, which was exposed earlier this year by one of its former contractors Edward Snowden. Hayden said that the fact that the U.S. was the main force behind the creation of the Internet itself was part of the reason why the spy organization felt the need to monitor its use, adding, "We built it here, and it was quintessentially American." He also suggested that the U.S. might be best remembered for the creation of the Internet in 500 years.

Source: Washington Post
Email image via Shutterstock

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Rainbow Six Vegas for Xbox 360 free to download via Xbox Live Gold until Sept. 30

Next Story

StatCounter: Windows XP is the most used OS in eight countries, including China

37 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

"Gmail is the best free email system...for me to poop on"


(Does Conan still do his Triumph bit? I haven't watched his show in years)

Nope. When he left NBC, they barred him from using any bits from Late Night as well as The Tonight Show. NBC claims ownership of those, so he can never use them again

Gmail is number one for terrorist also for normal people.

So, what's the surprise?.

Is the same to say Windows is number one with terrorist.

Those of you criticizing Michael Hayden for his position, at least he actually HAS a position; further, given what he's done over his military career, said position actually makes sense. However, most of you simply have no better understanding of his position than a goat would have about geometry, and are simply railing against his position (or anything even remotely related to the United States government, or the government's position on anything) because it looks good - not necessarily that you have any idea why the opponents of the government's position HAVE that opinion. I have NO opinion (none whatever) on Michael Hayden's opinions on Google OR the use of the Internet by terror organizations - however, I have enough of a brain to know that anonymous services (all of them - not just those provided by Google) WILL be used by ne'er do wells (be they terror orgs or even just plain criminals) because it makes too much sense (for them) to do so. To ignore the risk is silly - not to mention stupid.

PGHammer said,
Those of you criticizing Michael Hayden for his position, at least he actually HAS a position; further, given what he's done over his military career, said position actually makes sense. However, most of you simply have no better understanding of his position than a goat would have about geometry, and are simply railing against his position (or anything even remotely related to the United States government, or the government's position on anything) because it looks good - not necessarily that you have any idea why the opponents of the government's position HAVE that opinion. I have NO opinion (none whatever) on Michael Hayden's opinions on Google OR the use of the Internet by terror organizations - however, I have enough of a brain to know that anonymous services (all of them - not just those provided by Google) WILL be used by ne'er do wells (be they terror orgs or even just plain criminals) because it makes too much sense (for them) to do so. To ignore the risk is silly - not to mention stupid.

Someone who makes statements as the ones mentioned in the article is, IMO of course, a very troubled person. As for,the fact that he had a position, well history is crowded with characters who had/ have positions. Finally be reassured that subjects, at least the intelligent ones, who need to exchange sensitive information do not simply rely on so called anonymous services but would use many layers of added security to embed the content of their communications.

Since you can't contradict his position with a logical argument, you use an emotional and very subjective one - never realizing that you sound like a libertarian - most of whom are more conservative than Hayden.

My point about Hayden is that as NSA Director, he was basically in the suspiscion business - of COURSE he's going to be distrustful of those that feel they have a need to hide. (Similar, if not identical, opinions are also common in law enforcement - another BRANCH of the suspiscion business.) In other words, an opinion of that sort, from someone in the positions he held is normal - it would in point of fact, be out of character for his opinion to be otherwise. Your lack of understanding simply means that, if anything, you are more closed-minded than Hayden - never mind that your opinion is the opposite of Hayden's.

I am pretty sure the terrorist organizations know all about the surveillance so why would they use google to communicate??

If Gmail is number 1 with terrorists, then why do we still have terrorism? I though the NSA is on top of this and Google is evil and gives it to the NSA without a warrant /s

DarkNet said,
If Gmail is number 1 with terrorists, then why do we still have terrorism? I though the NSA is on top of this and Google is evil and gives it to the NSA without a warrant /s

If Gmail is #1, why do we still have terrorism?

Well maybe because there is also a mail service that is #2? And a hundred more? And yet some don't even use mail?

This can still mean that most terrorists use Gmail for their e-mail needs.

The Internet may have had it's origins in the states, but it's not "quintessentially American", not any more. It's a global platform, statistically used by far more non-Americans than Americans. He needs to get over himself and recognise that non Americans have rights all of their own, and we would be very much grateful if muppets like him left us be.

Who ever believes this is an idiot. They are just chatting rubbish to people so that they are justified for spying on everyone. Just cause they said its used most by terrorists doesnt mean it actually is. I can say that Outlook is used most by terrorists and no one has proof.

Sure the basics of the internet were primarily American in origin... however the web we know today is far from an American creation.

Sure the basics of the american culture were primarily English in origin... however the americans we know today are far from an English creation

Ventec said,
however the web we know today is far from an American creation.

The web (www) was created by a British guy. The internet and web are different things.

Michael Hayden is against Anonymity on the internet "The problem I have with the Internet is that it's anonymous." but If you have a problem with HIM you should also have a problem with Google because they are not out to protect your privacy OR your anonymity.. in fact just the opposite(Video below)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Z6b...ature=youtu.be&t=21m32s

Mayer may be at Yahoo now but look at her position/tenure at Google, others also hold her views. Including the chairman Eric Schmidt who says NSA spying is just the norm...

WHY so many give Google this free pass on everything is beyond me, they are one of the worst companies ever period

Mayer from the video: "What could you do throughout the course of the day that no one else would know about... Theres very few things right nnaahahehehepffpfehehaha"

Yea, I don't use Google anymore, no regret here. Google is also #1 with Michael Hayden.. something to think about

Edited by dingl_, Sep 16 2013, 10:31am :

Wow, looks like someone is buying into the conspiracy theories. I bet I could pull up and find years old videos about a few other companies as well that shows how "Evil" and "corrupt" they are.

Funny tho and I needed laugh this early on a Monday morning.

Even using Neowin you'd be hard pressed to escape google.. googleapis.com google-analytics.com (domains attached to to this site)

As for YouTube.. it is the dominate video service, hard to escape as well

cork1958 said,
Just shows how stupid most terrorists are if they use that for their e-mail!!

No kidding. The whole NSA spying thing seems to me like they are spending a lot of time on the stupid terrorist that don't know any better than to talk about their plan on GMail or some other US owned internet service. Meanwhile, I'm sure the smart ones have their own highly encrypted networks.

Took me like 10 minutes to setup my own Ventrillo server, for instance. Throw that behind a VPN and there are even iPhone and Androids apps to connect and talk.

Anyone scheming to do anything illegal and communicating about that on these networks is just dumb and probably not much of a real threat. Glad we trashed the constitution to catch stupid wannabe terrorists. GG, NSA.

Hmm. How does a lawsuit for defamation and libel sound? That would require proof, which could only be obtained illegally and therefore inadmissible.

(Requires a world of unicorns and rainbows, but surely worth a try)

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
Get it trough your head already, when you do it it's illegal, when the gov. does it it's only for the good of your well being and therefor not illegal.

Please tell us you forgot to add the /s to the end of your statement...

Why monitor GMail when you can just shut it down then the terrorists can't communicate at all? This way they don't have to violate the constitution nor invade our privacy /s.