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Senators Press CIA Nominee on Legality of Surveillance Efforts

In the face of close questioning by senators, Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, President Bush's nominee for CIA director, strongly defended a domestic eavesdropping program Thursday, saying it protected the country against terrorism and did not violate Americans' civil rights.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    The man who would run the CIA. NewsHour congressional correspondent Kwame Holman begins our coverage.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Air Force General Michael Hayden could expect two lines of questions from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. One, what he would do, if confirmed as CIA director, to rebuild the agency's network of human, on-the-ground intelligence, to repair the damage done by the exodus of experienced analysts from the agency, and to restore agency morale.

    The general also knew there would be questions about his tenure as head of the National Security Agency, during which the NSA reportedly expanded its mission of conducting international surveillance to include some domestic communications, such as telephone calls and e-mails.

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