Meet the Press   |  December 15, 2013

Snowden ‘accelerated’ the debate over surveillance and security

Gen. michael Hayden believes leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations have accelerated the debate over the scope of government spying.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> but there is a fundamental principle that's embedded in our revolutionary finding in the enlightenment, the inalienable rights of each individual for liberty, for privacy, and that the government can't invade my privacy without some reasonable suspicion . ryan wrote a piece in the new yorker about this. here's what he writes. the nsa's collecting of data looks a lot like what facebook does, but it is fundamentally different. it in verts the crucial legal principle of probable cause. the government has been putting together a haystack with no reasonable position.

>> we're protected against unreasonable search and seizure, all right? it doesn't say all searches must be based upon reasonable suspicion . so now unreasonable search and seizure depends upon the totality of circumstances in which you find yourself. and, david, i fully admit, look, snowden was important. he accelerated a debate. i think he misshaped the debate, but he certainly accelerated it. but the debate was coming. there are three things that are changing. number one, the nature of our enemy is changing. it used to be nation states . now it's individuals. that requires tremendous granularity that you didn't quite have to have when the problem was the soviet union . the second thing that's changing is technology. that seems to be self-evident. the third thing is an understanding, a cultural understanding, as to what constitutes privacy and a reasonable expectation of privacy . look, privacy is that negotiated line between ourselves as unique creatures of god and ourselves as social animals . that negotiation continues all the time, and it's actually accelerating right now. so you have the nsa trying to deal with all three of these tectonics moving. that's really hard.

>> it's not terribly worried about that, but what the government is worried about is not having another terror act on anybody's watch and the political repercussions. so the safe thing to do would be to say, you know what would be great, is if we just gathered everything up, that way we would be covered. if i'm a senator and say you're head of the nsa, i don't think this is legal. i'm concerned about this. what ability do i have as a representative of the united states , of the people in congress, to shut you down? i can't even talk with anybody about it, this private program.

>> that's been overstated in terms of what's going on. jim clapper wrote letters to congress in '09 and 2011 in which he explicitly said, hey, guys, we're getting it all, in terms of the met adata of phone calls.