The argument by the judge who ruled against the National Security Agency's mining of Americans' phone records — saying the government hadn't cited a single incident where a terrorist attack was prevented — is wrong, says retired Gen. Michael Hayden, who once headed the NSA and CIA.
"That's like an NFL team that only gets credit for a win if they do it on the last second field goal," Hayden told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"I would say that if your metric is stopping imminent terrorist attack and that's the only thing you measure the program by, well, that's kind of out off kilter."
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon granted a preliminary injunction, ruling that the NSA's national bulk collection of phone records violates the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches. But he but put his decision on hold pending a near-certain government appeal.
Hayden, now a principal at the Chertoff Group, says the issue isn't black or white because the court is not responsible for national defense.
"I'm actually reasonably comfortable that this decision does not stand," he said.
"This is a complex science, and what the president should be saying is no one's targeting your phone calls.
"But the truth be known … if we're targeting a foreigner and it's a legitimate target . . . talking to an American, we stay on that call."
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