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Terrorists prefer Gmail, former CIA director says

When terrorists need a Web mail service to coordinate their plans, most turn to Gmail, Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA, tells a church audience.

James Martin/CNET

Former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Administration Director Michael Hayden defended the PRISM program to an adult education class, saying that "Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide."

He made the comment during a speech on "the tension between security and liberty" at The Forum at St. Johns Church in Washington, D.C., where he was arguing in support of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA) Section 702, the Washington Post reported. Section 702 provides the legal underpinning of the PRISM spying program.

He described the Internet as being "quintessentially American," and said that since much of the Internet traffic goes through servers based in America, the US government "takes a picture of it for intelligence purposes."

Google refused to comment on Hayden's comments, or whether they affect the opinion of Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt that Internet Balkanization is a bigger concern than spying.