Former National Security Agency and CIA Director Michael Hayden said on Fox News Sunday today that had Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)’s provision that would have prevented the NSA from collecting metadata from Americans not suspected of terrorism passed, it would have turned the “program on its head.
“The metadata program isn’t about targeting Americans,” Hayden said. “It’s about trying to with the lightest touch possible who in America, legally, operationally, ethically, should be targeted with increased interest from the FBI and our intelligence interests.”
Amash said there cannot be a “perfect system” unless “we have a police state” where people are constantly “locked down” and “monitored.” He said that would actually lead to a “more dangerous society.”
Amash said the National Security Agency has never suggested that they cannot collect “content” in addition to metadata, and he then said “metadata can tell you a whole host of information about a person’s life.”
Earlier in the conversation, Amash emphasized that Al Qaeda’s growing presence is another reason for Americans to be more vigilant about privacy rights.