- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2014

Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency, said Friday that President Obama’s speech on reforms to U.S. spying programs will focus on making people feel comfortable with the practices — not sweeping changes.

Mr. Obama is set to announce changes today to how the NSA collects and stores information, although its bulk collection of phone data is expected to continue.

“I think the substance of the speech is going to be holding his ground,” Mr. Hayden told MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

It’s important for the president, he added, to make the program more transparent across the board.


Mr. Hayden said Mr. Obama “doubled down” on controversial spying programs established by former President George W. Bush because his outlook shifted when he advanced from the Senate to the White House. It’s easier to criticize widespread surveillance from the campaign trial in Iowa than it is from the Oval Office, he said.

“If President [George W.] Bush and President Obama by and large do the same things, it’s not George Bush’s program anymore. It’s America’s program,” he told MSNBC.

 

Mr. Obama is set to announce changes today to how the NSA collects and stores information, although its bulk collection of phone data is expected to continue.

“I think the substance of the speech is going to be holding his ground,” Mr. Hayden told MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

It’s important for the president, he added, to make the program more transparent across the board.

Mr. Hayden said Mr. Obama “doubled down” on controversial spying programs established by former President George W. Bush because his outlook shifted when he advanced from the Senate to the White House. It’s easier to criticize widespread surveillance from the campaign trial in Iowa than it is from the Oval Office, he said.

“If President [George W.] Bush and President Obama by and large do the same things, it’s not George Bush’s program anymore. It’s America’s program,” he told MSNBC.