Hayden Defends the NSA

Glenn Greenwald has a must-read post eviscerating NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden’s defense of the NSA domestic spying program. From all appearances, the NSA wasn’t doing any sort of data-mining, as previously thought (although Hayden’s denial is vague enough that this could still be a possibility). Instead, it was, apparently, illegally lowering the standards required for monitoring U.S. citizens and circumventing the FISA Court by refusing to get warrants, which are required by law. It’s hard to see how this isn’t illegal.

Meanwhile, in his Q&A session, Gen. Hayden never really gave any indication that the new program—or the new, illegal criteria for monitoring domestic suspects—actually works, or has led to arrests or any sort of tangible domestic security success. And no one seems to have really pressed this point. Granted, this sort of pales beside the issue of whether the administration broke the law or not, but it’s still a pretty crucial question.