Sherman, set the wayback machineposted by The Vidiot @ 6:15 PM Permalink
April 12, 2000 -- In a rare public appearance, two men who head the top U.S. intelligence agencies sought to convince lawmakers on Capitol Hill that ordinary Americans are never the targets of high-tech government surveillance.Gee Mr. Peabody, that sounds awfully familiar, what's today's timelying:
The director of the National Security Agency, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, and his boss, CIA Director George Tenet, testified Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee.
They sought to dispute newspaper reports suggesting the United States and its allies were using a surveillance system to eavesdrop on private conversations of Americans and Europeans.
On Wednesday, the NSA director dismissed any suggestions that his agency violates privacy laws.
"We are not out there as a vacuum cleaner," Hayden said. "We don't have that capability and we don't want that capability."
"We protect the rights of Americans and their privacy," Tenet insisted. "We do not violate them and we never will."
The agencies are barred from doing so by a 1978 law that was passed after the NSA was forced to admit in the 1970s that its massive eavesdropping equipment had been used against anti-Vietnam War activists [...]
That led to the law banning any spying on Americans anywhere. The law protects resident aliens, too, said Hayden, no matter who they are or what they are suspected of doing." Hayden testified.
"There is a rich body of oversight that ensures that we stay within the law," he said.
"It's not what we're about. It's not what we've done. We simply do not do that." he added.
The unusual hearing was scheduled by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, a Florida Republican, who said he was satisfied that the intelligence agencies were fulfilling their role of guarding national security interests without violating the rights of citizens.
"I think our safeguards are in place and are working," Goss said.
Of course not my dear boy, because we know that:
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans