Edward Snowden's leaks about National Security Agency surveillance procedures have started a national debate about the balance between privacy and security while causing "significant and irreversible" damage, former CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden said Sunday.
Hayden also told CBS' "Face the Nation"
host Bob Schaeffer Sunday that President Barack Obama should be taking more aggressive measures to bring Snowden back to the United States to face legal proceedings.
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Obama said last week that he wouldn't be using fighter jets
to bring back Snowden, who leaked information about the NSA's telephone and Internet surveillance programs to the international media.
But meanwhile, Hayden downplayed news from this weekend that the NSA's surveillance measures also targeted European citizens.
According to information obtained by Der Speigel, a German publication, the NSA conducted online surveillance of European citizens and targeted buildings housing European Union institutions.
The information is in more secret documents brought out by Snowden. Spiegel reports a "top secret" 2010 document shows how the NSA attacked the EU's diplomatic representation in Washington by installing bugs and infiltrating telephone systems.
Related: Europeans Confront Washington on Magazine's Surveillance Report
"Other countries know that the U.S. does conduct espionage," said Hayden. "Our Fourth Amendment is not an international treaty. Any European who wants to go out and ream their garments with regard to international espionage should look first and find out what their own governments are doing,"
Meanwhile, he said that the Internet means that "geography doesn't mean what it used to," and that he wouldn't draw immediate conclusions about the latest Snowden leaks.
The Snowden scandal, though, has revealed the need to educate Americans more about what the government is doing.
"It's lodged a national debate about the balance between government and the American public," Hayden said. "In an ideal world, I keep everything secret, but I'm willing to shave points off my operational effectiveness to make the American people more comfortable about what we're doing, otherwise they won't let us do it in the first place … but democracies like ours don’t get to do something over a long period of time without national consensus."
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