Terrorists prefer Gmail as their email provider of choice, according to the former director of the NSA and CIA.

From the Washington Post:

Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden stood on the pulpit of a church across from the White House on Sunday and declared Gmail the preferred online service of terrorists. As part of an adult education forum at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Hayden gave a wide ranging speech on “the tension between security and liberty.”

During the speech, he specifically defended Section 702 of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA), which provides the legal basis for the PRISM program. In doing so, Hayden claimed “Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide,” presumably meaning online service rather than the actual provider of Internet service. He added: “I don’t think you’re going to see that in a Google commercial, but it’s free, it’s ubiquitous, so of course it is.”

The remarks come at a time when Google is struggling with public perception in the wake of revelations about its cooperation with the NSA after leaks by Edward Snowden.

Recently, Google joined other technology companies in pressuring the government to allow them to distinctly identify the number of national security related requests for user data separately from other law enforcement requests.

An appeals court also recently ruled that a lawsuit could proceed in challenging Google Street View’s interception of data on open Wi-Fi routers.  Google has said the practice was not intentional.