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Hayden Learns the 4th Amendment

May 18, 2006

The CIA confirmation hearings for General Michael are underway and the Bush administration is pulling out all the stops for their man. Yesterday, the White House flip-flopped and provided briefings on its illegal NSA domestic surveillance programs to the full Senate and House intelligence committees. And today, General Hayden showed he did his homework and finally learned the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
As the AP reported, Hayden today sought to defend the legality of the NSA domestic eavesdropping program:

He said the surveillance program used a "probable cause" standard that made it unlikely that information about average Americans would be scrutinized.

But back in January, the concept of "probably cause" was nowhere to be found in General Hayden's vocabulary:

Just to be very clear - and believe me, if there's any amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it's the Fourth. And it is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment. And so what you've raised to me - and I'm not a lawyer, and don't want to become one - what you've raised to me is, in terms of quoting the Fourth Amendment, is an issue of the Constitution. The constitutional standard is 'reasonable.'"

Much of Hayden's song and dance regarding his work at the NSA will take place in closed session. But from what we've seen in public so far, Hayden is already singing a different tune.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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