Former US Spy Chief Hospitalized After Stroke

Former CIA director and retired US Air Force General Michael Hayden suffered a stroke this week.

“The Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security, on behalf of Jeanine C. Hayden and the Hayden family, regrets to inform that General Michael V. Hayden was hospitalized earlier this week after suffering a stroke while at his home,” the center said in a statement on Friday.

Hayden, 73, served as both Director of the CIA and NSA during his career in the government. He oversaw the NSA from 1999 to 2005 and then the CIA from 2006 to 2009. After his career in the public sector, Hayden became a principal at the Chertoff Group, was tapped for the board of directors of Motorola Solutions, and in 2017 joined CNN as a national security analyst.

Hayden was the head of the NSA during a critical time in the agency’s history. It was he who suggested to then-President George W. Bush that the NSA conduct warrantless surveillance following the 9/11 terror attacks. (At the time, Bush’s own Justice Department thought this was illegal.)

Under Hayden’s watch, the espionage agency adopted an invasive dragnet program called Trailblazer to monitor global traffic and collect vast amounts of information. Former NSA technical director Bill Binney resigned from the agency in 2001 in protest of the agency’s decisions, including the decision to adopt the ultra-invasive Trailblazer Project instead of another program called ThinThread.

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