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John Kerry ‘Troubled’ by Hayden Nomination

by Pamela Leavey

John Kerry, was in New Hampshire today delivering a speech to the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. He told members of the firefighters’ union that he had “serious reservations” about the nomination of Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to head the CIA.

(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

I’m very troubled by the nomination because he is one of the main supporters representing Donald Rumsfeld who helped to put in place the programs of spying on Americans and has been one of the biggest defenders of it,” Kerry said.

President Bush nominated Hayden as CIA director Monday, after former director Porter Goss resigned under pressure Friday. Hayden, former head of the National Security Agency, ran a controversial domestic surveillance program initiated after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

A number of congressmen and senators have said the program violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act because intelligence officials failed to get permission for monitoring domestic phone calls from a secret intelligence court.

“We passed the law that gave them all the ability to protect America, which I obviously want to do, but to protect America and also protect the constitution,” Kerry told reporters after a formal speech to the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.

“We gave them a court that they could go to on the shortest notice necessary. If they need to fix (the law), we’ll help them fix it, but we want to do it in a way that honors America’s respect for our constitution,” he said.

Photos in the news:

George Krause of Globe Manufacturing Co. shows Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a new stlye of firefighter boots Monday, May 8, 2006, in Nashua, N.H. Kerry addressed the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire’s convention. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., left, talks with firefighters at the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire’s convention in Nashua, N.H., Monday, May 8, 2006. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

3 Responses to “John Kerry ‘Troubled’ by Hayden Nomination”

  1. I wish someone – JK, or anyone – would take shrub to court over domestic spying. If shrub ran this through the FISA Courts, I’d have no problem with it. I have no illusion about those who really do hate the us and are just plan nuts. Those people are out there – just run the program right -judicial oversight! Hell, my cousin got canned at NSA because it was his opinion they were violating the 4th Amendment!

    Hello! Supreme Court! Where are you!

  2. Blue

    We must drive people to the polls in November – literally and physically and turn the House back to the Dems and then we’ll start to see a difference.

  3. I’m writing you to point to several flaws in regard to the nomination of General Michael Hayden to take over as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    First and foremost, General Hayden seems completely unacquainted with the text of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In January, he suggested it requires only some vague “reasonableness standard” and denied the need for probable cause based upon a warrant. This is deeply disturbing.

    The White House presently states that only a record of phone numbers calling to/receiving calls between each other is being collected. Let’s assume that’s true and complete. Then let’s say the White House must have knowledge of who’s making calls as parties sounding in the nature of signal intel from what phone numbers (since they say they’d have no idea of what the content is, how else can they “know what numbers to track”)…including payphone and cellular anywhere in the world. That amounts to the great risk of wanting to focus on potentially treating everyone in the United States as “persons of interest”, rather than focusing on the source(s) of such calls who obviously would have a great chance to confound their own capture through merely randomly dialing into the United States, creating whatever block of numbers to dissemble, or both. That is, even if the President thought some in the United States might be susceptible to innocent or willing aider of foreign terrorists, where is the equal or greater focus on finding the source(s) of such calls at all? This is especially compounded by the White House opposing tight border security and checks on aliens, which might permit enemy agents to enter the United States and appear to be callers/recipients other than they are.

    Because the margin of error for erroneous detention of citizens on such data is great, the White House should be required to at least explain to the FISA Court what its basis is for presuming probable cause and obtain FISA Court warrants where applicable.

    Next, I ask that you review General Hayden’s testimony before Congress on October 17th, 2002, in which he testified under oath that all domestic surveillance was being conducted in accordance with the FISA law. We know now, and he knew then, that the President’s illegal spying program is being conducted far outside the procedures carefully spelled out in FISA. There should be a penalty for lying to Congress under oath, but at the very least this should prevent his confirmation by the Senate.

    Finally, please ask yourself — is now the right time for an actively serving military general to take over as the head of the CIA, a civilian agency, and further erode the military-civilian divide? Let’s not have the Pentagon exerting further influence over our nation’s intelligence.