Tidligere leder av National Security Agency og CIA, Michael Hayden, sier i et intervju med Fox News at overvåkerne har videre fullmakter i dag enn under George W. Bush.

Hayden sier en del oppsiktsvekkende ting. Han viser ved eksempler at de må ha en grunn til å sjekke et nummer. Hvis det f.eks. dukker opp et nummer i Waziristian, kan de gå inn og se om dette nummeret har kommunisert med noen i basen. Basen rommer flere milliarder samtaler.

Ja vel, det høres plausibelt ut, svarer programleder, men hva med databasen? Dere beholder den. Dere sitter på den enorme mengden data om oss.

– We keep it, of course, svarer Hayden, og det er dette of course, som er interessant. Hayden viser at han egentlig ikke har noen motforestillinger mot at alt blir lagret. Han tar ikke poenget Wallace prøver å gjøre ham oppmerksom på.

WALLACE: General Hayden, let’s talk first of all about the general reaction you have to Senator Paul. I’m going to get into specific issues with you. As a man who used to run these programs, how important and how effective have they been in keeping us safe and how do you feel when you hear Senator Paul talk about class action lawsuits to the Supreme Court, new congressional restrictions?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER HEAD OF NSA AND CIA: Well, first of all, Chris, with regard to how effective they are, I think they’re very effective. We had two presidents doing the same thing with regard to electronic surveillance. Now, that seems to me to suggest that these things do work.

Now, with regard to what the senator said — if I believed NSA was doing some of the things the senator fears they’re doing, I would have been backstopping him during your first segment. He said we’re trolling through millions of records. That’s just simply not true.

The government acquires records as business records from the telecom providers, but then doesn’t go into that database without an arguable reason connected to terrorism to ask that database a question. If you don’t have any link to that original predicate, terrorism, your phone records are never touched.

WALLACE: Well, let’s get into that and let’s talk a little bit — and I know we’re getting into kind of a sensitive area here about the tradecraft that you were involved with — as especially the head of the NSA, but also the CIA.

According to one estimate, the NSA is getting the phone records of 3 billion of our phone calls every day — 3 billion phone calls every day.

Two questions: one, how can you possibly process 3 billion records a day? And, secondly, why not just target, from the very beginning, the bad guys?

HAYDEN: Well — well, first of all, you have to identify who are the bad guys. So, let’s begin the acquisition. Three billions is a big number.

Keep in mind, Chris, that our telecommunications providers do that every day on their own. So, it’s not impossible to do. Now you’ve got the data stored.

Here’s the important part and this is the part that protects civil liberties and balances, which Senator Johnson wants to balance — security and our freedom.

You ask the database a question, but the question has to be related to terrorism. I’ll give you a concrete example so this is very clear. So, you roll up something in Waziristan. You get a cell phone. It’s the first time you’ve ever had that cell phone number. You know it’s related to terrorism because of the pocket litter you’ve gotten in that operation.

Here’s how it works: you simply ask that database, hey, any of you phone numbers in there ever talked to this phone number in Waziristan? I mean, you’re already going into the database with the predicate, with a probable cause, with an arguable reason why you’re asking for the data.

WALLACE: I’ve been talking — obviously, this has been the subject in Washington and across the country this week. People are concerned about this mountain of data that you have.

OK. I mean, what you say sounds perfectly sensible. You know that there’s a guy in Waziristan. You want to know who he’s talking to in the United States.

One, what do you do with all the records, the billions of records that you have on all of us law-abiding citizens and what’s the potential for abuse with the fact that you have all of that stored in computers somewhere?

HAYDEN: First, to answer your question, what do we do with all of the other records? Nothing. All right?

WALLACE: You keep it, though.

HAYDEN: Of course, because — I mean, you get the cell phone with that number six months from now you want to know the history of that number. When does the value of that information begin to age off?

So, you do retain the information so that you can ask questions of it in the future. With regard to abuse, there are no records of abuse under President Bush, under President Obama.

Now, I was criticized because I theoretically didn’t have enough oversight mechanisms, but no one accused us of abuse. President Obama has in some ways added incredible oversight mechanisms to this. Again, no abuse under either president.

WALLACE: Let me ask you about Obama and I promise, Senator Johnson, I’m going to bring you back in after this final question. Back in 2006, Senator Obama voted against your nomination to be CIA director because of your involvement in government programs,

From what you know and I understand you’ve been on the outside, how much has he changed? He expanded, restricted these government surveillance programs that he inherited.

HAYDEN: In terms of surveillance?


HAYDEN: Expanded in volume, changed the legal grounding for them a little bit, put it more under congressional authorization rather than the president’s Article II powers and added a bit more oversight.

But in terms of what NSA is doing, there is incredible continuity between the two presidents.

WALLACE: How do you mean he’s expanded in volume?

HAYDEN: Well, it may just because we’ve gotten more of these records over time and with the amendment to the FISA 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.