Gen. Michael Hayden, the former National Security Agency director, appeared Sunday on CBS' “Face the Nation” to comment on President Barack Obama’s handling of the NSA wiretapping and surveillance program scandal.
In regards to Obama’s remarks, Gen Hayden offered this opinion, “To me the most telling thing he said was what he didn’t quite say. He didn’t suggest he was going to operationally change this program. There’s no suggestion that what he was doing and what President Bush was doing was anything but lawful, effective and appropriate.”
Regardless of the legality of the program, Gen. Hayden noted that Obama was taking certain “steps to make the public more comfortable about what [the government] is doing.”
In regards to the fate of the metadata gathering program, Gen. Hayden also suggested that the program would probably still continue.
Gen. Hayden also voiced concern about an idea of having a privacy advocate for the Foreign Intelligence Service Act courts, “It may be use for transparency and confidence,” he said.
On the other hand, Hayden added, “When you’re looking at your rearview mirror after the next successful attack, this runs the danger of looking like bureaucratic layering. You need to be careful of how many processes you put in there. Although, I freely admit you don’t get to do this at all, unless the American people feel comfortable about it.”
Gen. Hayden also added a few insights into his views on Edward Snowden.
“[Snowden] didn’t inform [the debate], he made it more emotional,” he said.
Gen. Hayden shared his opinion on how to categorize Snowden. “We used to have a word for somebody who stole our secrets, who got the job to steal our secrets and then he moved with those secrets to a foreign country and made those secrets public. It wasn’t whistle-blower. It was defector.”
“Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer asked Gen. Hayden if he thought Snowden was a traitor. Gen. Hayden denied that notion. “Traitor is narrowly defined in the constitution. I’ll stick with defector.”
Watch highlights of these interview excerpts and the full interview here. Let us know what you think about Gen. Hayden’s remarks in the comments section.