A former National Security Agency director who served the majority of his tenure in the George W. Bush administration, said that after Barack Obama assumed office, the NSA was granted additional powers resulting in an expansion of surveillance programs. This is notwithstanding the fact that Obama blasted the NSA’s activities under Bush in 2006.
Michael Hayden, who ran the NSA between 1999 and 2005, appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and was asked by host Chris Wallace how things had changed at the agency since he left, according to Business Insider.
“In terms of surveillance? Expanded [the programs] in volume, changed the legal grounding for them a little bit – put it more under congressional authorization rather than the president’s Article 2 powers – and added a bit more oversight. But in terms of what NSA is doing, there is incredible continuity between the two presidents.”
He added: “We’ve gotten more of these records over time. With the amendment to the Fisa Act [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act], in 2008, which Senator Obama finally voted for, NSA is actually empowered to do more things than I was empowered to do under President Bush’s special authorization.”
After leaving the NSA, Hayden was confirmed as CIA director in 2006. Ironically, then-Senator Obama voted against his appointment to protest the NSA’s surveillance on Americans. The video of Obama’s protest follows.
The Guardian’s disclosure Wednesday that the NSA was collecting datas from telephone companies created a political firestorm from some lawmakers, and an apparent yawn from others.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called NSA surveillance programs “an all-out assault on the constitution” and remarked on “Fox News Sunday that he was considering Supreme Court challenge to the practice.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Ariz., called for a revision of the Patriot Act on CNN Sunday. saying, “The fact that every call I make to my friends or family is noted, the length, the date, that concerns me.”
Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, condemned not the substance of the leaks, but rather the leaks themselves.
Appearing on ABC Sunday, he told George Stephanopoulos that “Taking a very sensitive classified program that targets foreign person on foreign lands, and putting just enough out there to be dangerous, is dangerous to us, it’s dangerous to our national security and it violates the oath of which that person [the whisteblower] took.”
He added, “I absolutely think they should be prosecuted.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein also appeared on ABC Sunday and defended the agency’s actions. Feinstein is the Senate intelligence committee chairwoman.
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