Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden told Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., to stop “misrepresent[ing]” the NSA data collection programs that Edward Snowden revealed to the media.
“[I]t doesn’t make Americans more comfortable about the program to misrepresent it,” Hayden said on Fox News Sunday during a joint appearance with Amash. “This does not authorize the collection of content, period.”
Hayden offered the comment as a direct rebuke to the congressman, who stated that “under this doctrine, they certainly can collect your content just as they can collect your metadata” after Hayden said the intelligence community only collected phone records that showed which people were in contact with terrorists.
“[T]hat’s why we in the intelligence community felt it was the lightest as I said, the lightest touch possible, to try to divine who in America might be the enemy inside the gate,” he said.
Amash praised Snowden for revealing the programs. “There are allegations that this information was given to Congress,” he said. “But members of Congress were not really aware on the whole about what these programs were being used for, the extent to which they were being used. Members of the intelligence committee were told, but members who are rank-and-file members really didn’t have the information.”
Hayden noted he ”read the letters released this week in 2009 and 2011 that specifically invited members of Congress to come read what the government was doing, and the phrase in the letter was bulk metadata collection.”