Ex-NSA, ex-CIA chief Michael Hayden backs Apple on iPhone ‘backdoor’

“Retired four-star general Michael Hayden, who as director of the NSA installed and still defends the controversial surveillance program to collect telephone metadata on millions of Americans, says he opposes proposals to force Apple and other tech companies to install “back doors” in digital devices to help law enforcement,” Susan Page reports for USA Today.

“”In this specific case, I’m trending toward the government, but I’ve got to tell you in general I oppose the government’s effort, personified by FBI Director Jim Comey,” Hayden told Capital Download in an interview about his memoir, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror,” Page reports. “‘Jim would like a back door available to American law enforcement in all devices globally. And, frankly, I think on balance that actually harms American safety and security, even though it might make Jim’s job a bit easier in some specific circumstances.'”

“The retired Air Force general is the only person ever to head both the super-secret National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency,” Page reports. “In his 448-page memoir, published Tuesday by Penguin Press, he recalls being at the NSA on Sept. 11, 2001, when Al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He led the CIA during firestorms over its detention and interrogation of terror suspects, and while targeted killings by drones grew.”

“‘It’s unapologetic,’ he says of his account of the decision-making behind drone attacks, the use of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques, the intelligence failures in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, and the culture of America’s espionage agencies,” Page reports. “All that makes his conclusion that privacy concerns should trump security demands on this issue — putting him on the side of libertarian Sen. Rand Paul and fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden — especially powerful.

Yons more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple should take this current case all the way to the Supremes while also working to engineer their operating systems so as to block the possibility of orders like this from having any technological chance of working in the future. Start by killing off 4-digit unlock codes, which are too easily cracked by brute force.

Apple’s new lawyer, former U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, calls iPhone-unlock order a ‘Pandora’s Box’ – February 22, 2016
Apple posts open letter: ‘Answers to your questions about Apple and security’ – February 22, 2016
Apple vs. the U.S. government: Who elected Tim Cook? – February 21, 2016
Apple could easily lock rights-trampling governments out of future iPhones – February 20, 2016
Prediction: Apple will cave to U.S. government demand to crack open iPhone, Donald Trump will get the credit – February 20, 2016
Apple: Terrorist’s Apple ID password changed in government custody, blocking access – February 19, 2016
Petition asks Obama administration to stop demanding Apple create iPhone backdoor – February 19, 2016
Newspaper editorials back Apple over U.S. government 8 to 1 – February 19, 2016
Apple likely to invoke First Amendment free-speech rights in against U.S. government backdoor demands – February 19, 2016
Donald Trump calls for Apple boycott over San Bernardino terrorist iPhone encryption – February 19, 2016
Secret memo details U.S. government’s broader strategy to crack phones – February 19, 2016
DOJ escalates war against Apple, files new motion to compel company to break into iPhone – February 19, 2016
Apple is still fighting Big Brother – February 19, 2016
Apple co-founder Woz: Steve Jobs would have fought this U.S. government overreach, too – February 19, 2016
Mother who lost son in San Bernardino terrorist attack sides with Apple against U.S. government backdoor demands – February 19, 2016
iPhones don’t kill people, people kill people – February 19, 2016
Tim Cook posts open letter opposing U.S. government demands to bypass iPhone encryption – February 17, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Bill” for the heads up.]


  1. It’s not a case of all or nothing when specific data justifies different handling. While meta-data for voice is being handled already, message and email addresses ONLY(not content) are key to determine accessories and thus protect Americans. That meta-data should be collected in some manner by communication providers. I’m not saying that phone are the only source, but they are probably the best source. Apple and others should find a way to collect it, but control access via court order. That damage to citizens from terrorists far exceeds that limited privacy issue.

  2. This is a good indication of what these guys are aiming for: “Jim would like a back door available to American law enforcement in all devices globally” and I’m sure that’s going to go for the internet of things, self-driving cars, tracking credit card usage the works. It’s a total megalomaniac approach with a total disregard for the free and civilized world. Forget it just being the US, this so called nation just continues to be as much of a threat to the free and civilized world as it possibly can.

    I just love the hypocrisy around this statement from this FBI guy the San Bernardino litigation: “isn’t about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message. It is about the victims and justice. Fourteen people were slaughtered and many more had their lives and bodies ruined. We owe them a thorough and professional investigation under law. That’s what this is. The American people should expect nothing less from the FBI.”

    Hey Jim what about all the victims of G.W. Bush’s crime against humanity? Oh wait, they aren’t from your country so it’s OK, and you have laws to protect you guys from that. Yup, a guy can walk away scott free from blatant crimes against humanity as long as he’s their president. The people of the free and civilized world have now come to expect this from the now fifth rate loser nation.

    I’d like to take this moment to thank MDN for posting so many articles on this issue. It’s one that should be a no brainer but it shows just how much this once great nation has lost its way. I do hope this goes all the way to the Supremes and I hope this is the message that the Supremes have for the FBI.

    1. No, Samsung see’s this whole security issue as a big headache they would rather avoid, and can’t for the life of them understand why Apple is putting themselves through this. It would be much easier to simply secretly hand over the key to governments that ask for it.

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