During a speech to the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC on cybersecurity, former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden confessed that if whistleblower Edward Snowden is captured by the US and brought back for trial, cyber-attacks by his defenders can be expected. While I find it hard to agree with most of what Hayden says, it's hard to disagree with the fact that this could happen.
Not long after activist Aaron Swartz' death a couple of months ago, Anonymous struck MIT's websites and the US Federal Reserve to help send a message. It seems reasonable to believe, then, that with a mega-case like Snowden's, for which there are many defenders, the impact could be much greater.
With some of his comments, Hayden's personality shines straight through. In reference to who might conduct the attacks, Hayden said, "nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twentysomethings who haven't talked to the opposite sex in five or six years." Realizing that the US' "dot-mil" (military websites and services) is pretty impenetrable, Hayden believes other things will be targeted: "So if they can't create great harm to dot-mil, who are they going after? Who for them are the World Trade Centers? The World Trade Centers, as they were for al-Qaida."
Is he actually insinuating that Snowden's defenders (and transparency believers) are going to go attack a major building in the US? Well, the fact that Hayden puts defenders in the same category as actual terrorist groups like al-Qaeda is enough to highlight his skewed thinking.
Is it any surprise that this was the man who ran the NSA from 1999 - 2009 and was entirely involved with the beginnings of PRISM and other government spying programs?