GENERAL MICHAEL V. HAYDEN PRINCIPAL DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY Declined to answer, when asked if the NSA had targeted opponents of the Bush administration for phone taps. This only makes sense if the Bush administration used the NSA to spy on political opponents. Note the very clear question followed by Hayden taking an unrelated question. Hayden has dodged vaguley similar questions repeatedly, but this one is so specific that his failure to answer with a clear no makes no sense unless the true answer is the one that should lead to an impeachment.
QUESTION: Will you openly and publicly debate us -- myself -- in a forum that's open to the public, not restricted, on the NSA spying scandal and defend what has been said, and respond to the numerous reports about the NSA spying on millions of people? That is one question. And the second question is: Are you spying on or intercepting our communications, e-mails and telephone conversations of those of us who are organizing The World Can't Wait to Drive Out the Bush Regime?
GEN. HAYDEN: You know, I tried to make this as clear as I could in prepared remarks. I said this isn't a drift net, all right? I said we're not there sucking up coms and then using some of these magically alleged keyword searches -- "Did he say 'jihad'? Let's get --" I mean, that is not -- do you know how much time Americans spend on the phone in international calls alone, okay? In 2003, our citizenry was on the phone in international calls alone for 200 billion minutes, okay? I mean, beyond the ethical considerations involved here, there are some practical considerations about being a drift net. This is targeted, this is focused. This is about al Qaeda.
The other request about a public debate -- as I mentioned at the beginning of my prepared remarks, this is a somewhat uncomfortable position for someone in my profession to be in, laying out details of the program. One way of describing what you have invited me to would be, "Why don't you come out and tell the world how you're catching al Qaeda?" And I can't do that. That would be professionally irresponsible.
QUESTION: No, I asked, are you targeting us and people who politically oppose the Bush government, the Bush administration? Not a fishing net, but are you targeting specifically political opponents of the Bush administration? Because as Vice President Gore recently said, "It is much worse than people realize."
QUESTION: Good morning, General Hayden. Katie Shrader with the Associated Press.
We can only hope the deputy of the man protecting us from Al Qaeda is an idiot. The alternative is worse.