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Legality of NSA Phone Program Questioned

In May 2006, USA Today reported that the National Security Agency, under then-CIA Nominee Gen. Michael Hayden’s leadership, had, since 9/11, secretly collected tens of millions of phone call records from the nation’s three largest telephone companies — Verizon, AT&T and BellSouth. Jeffrey Brown held this conversation on May 12, 2006 about the government’s alleged data collection program.

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    The controversy surrounding the government's alleged data-collection program followed CIA nominee General Michael Hayden around Capitol Hill today. Hayden met with several senators to seek support for his nomination. But, between the camera clicks and handshaking, questions came about the program's legality.

    GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, Deputy Director of National Intelligence: I'm not going to comment on the article that appeared in USA Today yesterday. Let me say once again, though, everything that the agency has done has been lawful, it's been briefed to the appropriate members of Congress, that the only purpose of the agency's activities is to preserve the security and the liberty of the American people. And I think we've done that.


    USA Today reported yesterday that the National Security Agency, under Hayden's leadership, has secretly collected tens of millions of phone call records since 9/11 from the nation's three largest telephone companies, Verizon, AT&T and BellSouth.

    The data does not include names of customers or content of the calls. Of the major phone companies, only Qwest refused to cooperate.

    At two public appearances today, President Bush avoided addressing the issue. But yesterday, he rearranged his schedule to talk to reporters.

    GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States: The privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities. We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans.

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