The former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency said during a speech on Sunday that terrorists around the world prefer Gmail over other email service providers.
Michael Hayden made that remark while addressing an adult education forum at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C.
“Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide,” Hayden said. “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’s speech was on the topic of “the tension between security and liberty.”
During his speech, he suggested that the NSA’s surveillance of Americans’ Internet usage was justified because the World Wide Web was invented in the U.S., Fox News reported. Hayden said that if the Internet is around for another 500 years, it may be the thing the United States is remembered for, “the way the Romans are remembered for their roads.” He added, “We built it here, and it was quintessentially American.”
Hayden ran the CIA until 2009 after stepping down as NSA director in 2005.
During his speech, Hayden also touched on what the Internet represented to the upper levels of the U.S. national security establishment.
“We have a very difficult time with this,” Hayden said. He then posed the question, “Is our vision of the World Wide Web the global digital commons — at this point you should see butterflies flying here and soft background meadow-like music — or a global free fire zone?”