‘I’d move heaven and Earth’ to access Lavrov’s emails – former head of NSA and CIA

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) and Retired U.S. Air Force General Michael Hayden © Sputnik / Reuters
Privacy seems less and less attainable these days, as foreign spy agencies target top political figures. The former director of both the NSA and CIA told US Today that he’d “move heaven and Earth” to access Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s email.

Retired four-star general Michael Hayden, the only person who has ever served as both the director of the NSA and CIA, made the comments while criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server for emails. 

The interview’s discussion then somehow veered off to Lavrov.

“How much energy would I expend if I were still director of the National Security Agency and someone told me I could get access to the unclassified email server of [Russian Foreign Minister] Sergei Lavrov? I’d move heaven and Earth to do that. And here you’ve got these private, intimate conversations by a senior official of the US government sitting out there in what I would call an unprotected environment.”

Hayden added that, in all likelihood, the fact that Clinton used a private server was well known to foreign intelligence agencies, making it a priority target.

“I would lose all respect for a whole bunch of foreign intelligence agencies if they weren’t sitting back, paging through the emails,” he said.

The court order requiring the former secretary of state to release some 55,000 pages of emails spawns from a Freedom of Information Act request from Vice News reporter Jason Leopold. Leopold’s lawyer, Ryan S. James, chastised State for moving too slowly, noting that the deadline for the department to complete its public release of all of the emails was supposed to be January 29.

The current deadline is February 29, a day before the Super Tuesday primaries, which include Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas – all delegate-heavy states.

Clinton’s server did not encrypt email – a fact that has led critics to raise concerns that hackers may have obtained classified information from her correspondence. The Clinton campaign maintains there were no breaches in security.

However, over 1,300 of Clinton’s emails have already been marked as classified, though with lower grades. “Top secret” is the highest designation.

When asked if Apple and other tech firms should be forced to install “back doors” in their devices so that law enforcement can more easily access them, Hayden replied:

“[FBI Director Jim Comey] 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.”