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Former NSA Director’s Keynote at W&L Law Symposium on Mass Surveillance, Cybersecurity Draws Analysis from The Atlantic

Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency, told a Millhiser Moot Court Room audience Jan. 23 that the totality of circumstances at a given time can change the interpretation of constitutional protections under the law.

Hayden described how the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington made reasonable what had been unreasonable national security tactics the day before. And, he suggested that the line between a citizen’s privacy and responsibility to society cannot be hard and fast.

“Privacy is the line we continuously negotiate between ourselves as unique creatures of God and ourselves as social animals. In the first category we have a right to keep things to ourselves. And in the second category we have a responsibility to reveal things about ourselves to the community for the greater good,” he said.

The Atlantic Magazine’s Conor Friedersdorf has published an analysis of Hayden’s keynote address at the symposium. Hayden’s complete speech can be viewed online.