Michael Hayden, who will probably replace outgoing CIA chief Porter Goss, told Congress in 2002 that all domestic surveillance was consistent with the FISA law—knowing full well of Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program.
[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.