National Security Debate Amid Fresh Terror Warnings
Fresh terror warnings have led US national security officials to close down nearly two dozen embassies over the weekend throughout Muslim world. Members who have been briefed describe the intelligence as the most serious they have been privvy to since 9/11.
General Michael Hayden, who has over time led both the NSA and the CIA, said he can "only imagine what it would’ve taken for our government to take the kind of action described."
"This does look quite serious," the general added.
An additional thought Hayden had is that the purpose of the announcement itself might be to interrupt al Qaeda in their planning, to let them know "we are onto them."
Representative Justin Amash (R-MI), who led an effort to defund the NSA's phone metadata collection program this week, warned that the world we find ourselves in is "precisely why we have 4th amendment rights."
Amash argued that the framers knew there was a danger of government "using national security as justification," to infringe on personal liberty.
Edward Snowden, who is wanted by the US government for exposing NSA programs, was granted a one year asylum by Russia.
Amash credits Snowden with shedding light on surveillance that he says Congress knew nothing about.
"Without his doing what he did, Members of Congress of wouldn’t know what was going on," Amash said, adding that he considers Snowden a whistle blower.
General Hayden disagreed with Amash and said of Snowden's actions, "(He) made it more difficult for our security services to keep Americans safe."
Hayden offered his opinion about how the US should deal with Russia too.
"I think its s jump-ball whether we should go to St Petersburg for the G20," he said.