By JONATHAN TOPAZ |
6/9/13 9:26 AM EDT
Former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden on Sunday defended the agency's monitoring, calling it "very effective" and respectful of "civil liberties."
The NSA can only comb through its intelligence database "with probable cause," he said, adding the NSA cannot listen to phone calls without "ask[ing] the database a question" that proves a link to terrorism or terrorist networks.
President Barack Obama has added "incredible oversight mechanisms" to the agency, Hayden said, but said that both former President George W. Bush and Obama have been responsible towards respecting the rights of ordinary Americans. Responding to Sen. Rand Paul and other critics of the Obama administration, Hayden said it was not true that the government is “trolling through billions of records" without respect for due process.