Ex-NSA Boss: Fourth Amendment Dispensable in Post 911 World
For government and its intelligence apparatus, so-called metadata is only a Stasi state baby step.
December 31, 2013
The former boss of the CIA and the NSA, retired Gen. Michael Hayden, tells USA Today the Constitution and the Bill of Rights impede the smooth functioning of a Stasi police state. He said the NSA should not be required to seek court warrants in its widespread surveillance.
“Right now, since there have been no abuses and almost all the court decisions on this program have held that it’s constitutional, I really don’t know what problem we’re trying to solve by changing how we do this,” he said in reference to recommendations proposed by Obama’s task force on surveillance.
Hayden sidestepped a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon issued earlier this month. Leon, a Bush appointee, said “the almost-Orwellian technology that enables the Government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States is unlike anything that could have been conceived in 1979,” when the case of Smith v. Maryland presented before the Supreme Court permitted the government to collect data without a court warrant. “The notion that the Government could collect similar data on hundreds of millions of people and retain that data for a five-year period, updating it with new data every day in perpetuity, was at best, in 1979, the stuff of science fiction.”