Tags: NSA/Surveillance | Steve Malzberg Show | Terror in Texas | Michael Hayden | NSA | surveillance | Patriot Act.

Hayden: NSA's Surveillance Program Should be Reauthorized

By    |   Thursday, 07 May 2015 06:37 PM

Congress should immediately reauthorize the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance program, retired four-star Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and CIA, tells Newsmax TV.

His recommendation came Thursday, hours after a three-judge federal appeals court ruled the NSA's routine of sweeping through millions of phone records to flush out terrorists is illegal under the Patriot Act.

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"A reauthorization would authorize the legal underpinning that NSA would need," Hayden said on "The Steve Malzberg Show."

"The court did not rule on its constitutionality; it didn't say what NSA was doing was unconstitutional.

"It just simply said they didn't think the language of the legislation supported the robust collection program the NSA felt the legislation had authorized … It did not tell NSA to stop doing anything."

Congress should also renew the Patriot Act, before it expires in June, Hayden believes. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been wrestling over whether to renew the terrorist-flushing program, which was originally passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

In Thursday's court decision, judges threw out a lower court decision that had ruled against an ACLU lawsuit. That suit charged the NSA program was unconstitutional, but the lower court had said the program was necessary after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Hayden — a principal at The Chertoff Group which specializes in mergers and acquisitions — insisted the surveillance program has not been abused, as many Americans fear.

"When I'm in front of audiences and they complain about the Patriot Act, I say, well you would give me an example please of what civil liberties you've lost because of the Patriot Act?" he said.

"And generally, a long silence follows. This has not been abused and this has been useful for people to keep us safe.

After what happened in Texas on Sunday [and] the homegrown guys with these very limited relationships with ISIS, this may not be the time for our giving up approaches that allow us to connect the dots between foreign and domestic terrorists."

That incident, in the Dallas suburb of Garland, ended when police shot dead both men who were outside an art event in which attendees were asked to draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Such images are considered blasphemous and have resulted in violence in other countries. But following the Texas shooting, some said the event was a needless antagonizing of Muslim extremists.

Hayden said he has mixed feelings.

"I'm in both camps. This event was unnecessarily unprovocative insulting to one of the world's great religions. That said, as a Christian, I didn't go get a gun when somebody [artist Andre Serrano] put a crucifix in a jar of urine several years ago," he said.

"This kind of threat might be the tariff we have to pay in order to keep a free and open society. There may not be a whole lot more we can do to really raise our confidence that we can stop these kinds of attacks.

"We'll do everything we can, but unless we're willing to trade in our civil liberties in a significant way, I just fear this stuff from time to time is just going to happen."

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Congress should immediately reauthorize the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance program, retired four-star Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and CIA, tells Newsmax TV.
Michael Hayden, NSA, surveillance, Patriot Act.
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2015-37-07
Thursday, 07 May 2015 06:37 PM
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