RandiHayden is best known for illegally spying on AmericansTue May 9, 2006 13:52
- Hayden is best known for illegally spying on Americans yet when pressed on "reasonable doubt" he said that it wasn't part of the Constitution.
Former NSA Director Hayden Lied To Congress And Broke The Law
[Our guest blogger, Morton Halperin, was Director of Policy Planning Staff at the State Department and served on the National Security Council under President Clinton. He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Johnson.]
The Bush administration has pulled out all the stops in attempting to defend the NSA’s warrantless domestic spying program. After speeches by President Bush and Attorney General Gonzales, Deputy Director of National Intelligence and former NSA Director General Michael Hayden took another crack at the defense in a speech on Monday. He’s not exactly the ideal choice to restore the administration’s credibility.
As Think Progress documented back in December, Hayden misled Congress. In his 10/17/02 testimony, he told a committee investigating the 9/11 attacks that any surveillance of persons in the United States was done consistent with FISA.
At the time of his statements, Hayden was fully aware of the presidential order to conduct warrantless domestic spying issued the previous year. But Hayden didn’t feel as though he needed to share that with Congress. Apparently, Hayden believed that he had been legally authorized to conduct the surveillance, but told Congress that he had no authority to do exactly what he was doing. The Fraud and False Statements statute (18 U.S.C. 1001) make Hayden’s misleading statements to Congress illegal.
Hayden’s fate lies with the tale of another spymaster, Nixon-era CIA Director Richard Helms.
Testifying under oath before a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1973, Richard Helms claimed that CIA was not involved in attempts to overthrow Salvador Allende of Chile:
SEN. SYMINGTON: Did you try in the Central Intelligence agency to overthrow the government of Chile?
MR. HELMS: No, sir.
SEN. SYMINGTON: Did you have any money passed to the opponents of Allende?
MR. HELMS: No, sir.
By the time Helms was called to testify again, CIA activities in Chile had become public knowledge. In 1977, Richard Helms pleaded no contest to charges of lying to Congress and served a suspended sentence.
Four years passed between Richard Helms’ false testimony before Congress and his guilty plea. Hayden’s congressional lying occurred in 2002. It’s now four years later. Time to fess up, General.
– Morton H. Halperin and Michael Fuchs
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IMpeach them all and then put them in jail without the help of the House Judiciary Committee.
Former CIA Deputy Director: Civil Liberties Are ‘Powerful Antidote to Violent Extremism’
Confirmation hearings for Gen. Michael Hayden to be CIA Director are sure to renew the debate over President Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance and the balance between civil liberties and national security.
Prominent conservatives working to stifle oversight of the program, including Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and John Cornyn (R-TX), have taken to repeating the line that civil liberties don’t matter much “after you’re dead.” Even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned this past February that “terrorists and criminals…would exploit our open society to do us harm.”
John Gannon, former CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence, has a different view. In testimony last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gannon said that Americans’ Constitutional freedoms “work against the development of domestic terrorist networks that could be exploited by foreigners.” In an email published today to the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News, he offered some more thoughts:
Americans have unparalleled Constitutional and legal protections to express grievances and to openly criticize government at all levels. … It means that the terrorists or other extremists would find less fertile ground to build networks in the US because local support would be harder to come by and because local opposition would be more certain.
In this sense, our liberties are a powerful antidote to violent extremism.
This is not an academic point for me. It is an observation from a career of watching the domestic consequences of repressive regimes elsewhere in the world–including US-friendly Islamic governments such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Executive Order 12333--United States intelligence activities
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