Troubling as it may be, he offered a genuinely clever and funny response.
When Sean Spicer appeared to have tweeted out a password, the possibility didn’t seem too far-fetched, perhaps even downright likely. I mean, the guy’s idea of subterfuge was hiding behind bushes. So while we may have expected that sort of thing from the former press secretary, our standards are higher for a former CIA chief and retired four-star general.
But perhaps they shouldn’t be.
In a quickly-deleted tweet, Gen. Michael Hayden seems to have published something that sure does resemble a password. Before we go much further, let’s also disclose that Hayden also served as the director of the NSA, a group of folks who tend to put a great deal importance on matters of cybersecurity.
Here’s a screencap of Hayden’s tweet, obtained by Twitter user x0rz, who professes to be a security researcher in his bio and certainly boasts the tweets in his timeline to support such a claim.
When reached by Gizmodo for comment on the matter, Hayden offered the cryptic response, “Certainly not a password. Can you pocket tweet?”
He followed up with a reference to the disappointing secret code in “A Christmas Story,” offering “But, as someone suggested, it does decode to ‘be sure to drink your Ovaltine’ :-)”
I’m not sure if the security breach is more or less troubling than the fact that a retired NSA chief uses emoticons when discussing matters of password security.
Still on the case, Twitter user x0rz mapped out the sequence needed to accidentally type the same sequence. It certainly doesn’t seem like the type of thing you butt-dial.
After a career that has included championing searches without probable cause, illicitly tapping U.S. citizens making international phone calls, and serving as an ardent defender of waterboarding (ahem, “enhanced interrogation”), Hayden is a security analyst for CNN. It’s unlikely that, even after a career spent in so many dark corners of the U.S. government, a leaked password would compromise national security, the possibility of it is … troubling.
Now here’s that “A Christmas Story” clip Hayden referenced.