Appearing on a MSNBC morning news show ahead of President Obama’s Friday speech on National Security Agency surveillance reforms, former NSA chief Michael Hayden explained that the president’s goal for the day would not be to announce real reforms that would change the behavior of the intelligence community, but suggested a different purpose.

Obama’s mission for the public address, said Hayden on Morning Joe, would not be to change what the NSA has been doing, but rather, he said, “to make people more comfortable about what it is that the intelligence agencies are doing.”

“What [Obama] is really saying is: ‘Trust us, trust us, trust us.'” —Michael Rattner, CCR

“I don’t know that American intelligence agencies are going to be doing a whole lot of things different in a week, a month, or a year than what they are doing right now,” he said.

Following Obama’s speech, delivered at the Department of Justice later in the morning, critics of the policy announcements it contained were finding reasons to agree (at least in this part) with Hayden, a man who supports the agency’s bulk collection of American communications and who led the agency under President George W. Bush.

According to analyst and MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who has given platform to aggressive critiques of the NSA bulk data collection under Obama, the president seemed to use his speech as a way “to normalize the practice off bulk collection” to a national audience.

And in his response, journalist Glenn Greenwald described the speech and Obama’s “reform” proposals “as little more than a PR attempt to mollify the public.” He wrote:

“[Obama] prettifies the ugly; he drapes the banner of change over systematic status quo perpetuation; he makes Americans feel better about policies they find repellent without the need to change any of them in meaningful ways. He’s not an agent of change but the soothing branding packaging for it.” —Glenn Greenwald, journalist

In a devastating critique of Obama’s speech and his larger presidential legacy, Greenwald makes the case that the president has played a valuable role as the national security state’s highest level salesman:

Read the speech. Watch it here.

“This president has been dragged—kicking and screaming—to today’s address. He’s been very reluctant to make any concrete reforms, and unfortunately what we see today is very few concrete reforms.” —Julian Assange, Wikileaks

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In Hayes’ interpretation of the speech, the president was doing his best not only to assuage the American people but, in fact, members of the intelligence community.

“Much of this speech,” said Hayes, “was directed to members of the intelligence community, where [Obama] was like: ‘I’m your friend, you guys are patriots and you guys are getting beat up, and I hear you.”  According to Hayes, the behind-the-scenes politics between the White House, the NSA, CIA, and the whole intelligence apparatus is as “brutal” as the politics being played out in public.

Michael Rattner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, also appeared on television directly after Obama’s speech and said: “The speech really began with a bouquet of roses to the surveillance community, starting with a history of surveillance since the [American] Revolution. In my view, that’s not where the speech should have started.”