Fox News
June 12, 2013

Did NSA chief reveal enough during cybersecurity hearing?

Guests: Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kas.; Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 12, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: For the first time today, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, they tried to get answers about the controversial NSA spy programs that were exposed last week. Now the agency's Director General Keith Alexander was grilled by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Now, he promised to provide as much information as he could about the secretive surveillance operations but also insisted that they were necessary. And since you were not able to watch all of today's hearings, well, we did it all for you. Here are the highlights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Has the intelligence community kept track of how many times phone records obtained through section 215 of the Patriot Act were critical to discovering and disrupting terrorist threats?

GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER, NSA DIRECTOR: I don't have those figures today.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Wait a minute. We've talked to the Intel community about this yesterday, but you didn't have the figures yesterday.

ALEXANDER: I gave an approximate number to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What's your --

ALEXANDER: It's classified.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK.

ALEXANDER: It's dozens of terrorist events that these have helped prevent.

I want the American people to know we're trying to be transparent here, protect civil liberties and privacy but also the security of this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If you knew that a suspect had made a call into area code 312, the city of Chicago, it certainly defies logic that you need to collect all of the telephone that calls made in the 312 area code on the chance that one of those persons might be on the other end of the phone. Now, if you have a suspected contact, that to me is clear. I want you to go after that person.

ALEXANDER: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What I'm concerned about is the reach beyond that that affects innocent people.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You've gotten into phone records. You've gotten into who they might be Googling. You've gotten into who they might be e- mailing. What else do you feel that you can get?

ALEXANDER: Great harm has already been done by opening this up, and the consequence, I believe, is our security is jeopardized. There's no doubt in my mind that we will lose capabilities as a result of this and that not only the United States but those allies that we have helped will no longer be as safe as they were two weeks ago.

Some of these are still going to be classified and should be, because if we tell the terrorists every way that we're going to track them, they will get through, and Americans will die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: That's a pretty strong statement.

Now, here's why this is important to you. Now, first, as you just heard, the NSA director said there are other classified programs that we don't know about. How can we as Americans make sure that our privacy is not being invaded?

Second, why should you law abiding citizens take the administration at its word. As you've seen in the past few days, President Obama has said one thing, and sadly has done another.

And finally, the bottom line is the NSA needs to keep Americans safe, but the agency also needs to do this without trampling on the Constitution.

And joining me now with reaction are two lawmakers, Republicans, and that Tim Huelskamp and Congressman Steve King. Gentlemen, welcome to the program.

REP. STEVE KING, R-IOWA: Good to be on, Sean. Thank you.

HANNITY: All right. Congressman Huelskamp, let me begin with you. Loretta Sanchez says lawmakers learned significantly more about the spy programs at the NSA and she said, I'll tell you what we heard, meaning the public is only the quote, "Tip of the iceberg." Do you know what she's talking about?

REP. TIM HUELSKAMP, R-KAS.: Well, Sean, there's more to it and what really bothers me I think should bother most Americans. This administration is certainly willing to lie to Congress as Mr. Clapper apparently did in March, willing to mislead and cover-up what's going on. There's plenty of classified information here. But as a member of Congress, there's plenty of things that they told us yesterday that were brand new to us and there's a real issues of probable cause and real issues of why do you have to collect up to billion phone records every day to collect, to collect that -- to go after that proverbial find the needle in the haystack. And there's real questions of distrust because who can you trust in Washington this administration with IRS, Benghazi and now follow- up with this scandal.

HANNITY: She said it astounded many of you that went up there. Were you astounded by what you learned yesterday?

HUELSKAMP: Well, I was astounded by what I learned, but I also was astounded that when members of the administration admit they lied to members of Congress and then said that was probably the right thing to do on these issues, and the question was raised by one of my colleagues. So if you lied to Congress in open hearing, how do we not know you're lying in this classified briefing as well? It's just hard to trust what they're saying.

HANNITY: I'm going to play that tape in just a second so people know exactly what you're referring to, Congressman King, good to see you.

KING: Hi, Sean.

HANNITY: Were you astounded, is this really just the tip of the iceberg? I mean, that would be shocking.

KING: You, Sean. I don't think I was astounded. I think that the breadth of this has already been released to open source. And over the materials that I was reading, some of that, you know, across the Internet, they're maybe have known what sites I was going to. I really understood, I thought, the scope of what they delivered but I wasn't confident in the response that they give. And also the way they parse their language and referenced particular sections of the code, it wasn't clear to me where they were drawing their authority from or where they were hanging their hat.

And I think that you can probably justify each component of all of this surveillance on its own. Maybe Constitution, maybe statutorily, maybe justify it as far as an intrusion into privacy. But when you put this whole picture together it's more than creepy. It's beyond the imagination of George Orwell.

HANNITY: Yes. I mean, are the new things that we don't know about as broad and general? Is it a bigger fishing expedition than what we know?

KING: You know what? Think of it as a fishing expedition that has the capability, not necessarily utilizing it all, of tracking all phone records, not necessarily audio, but possibly, all phone activity, the movement of it, the Internet activity that's there, put that all together and then know they also have a picture of both sides of the envelope of every snail mail, and looking at the IRS that has a software package to search these and punish the political enemies and look at a program that the Obama administration used politically to profile people by using open source data -- maybe not exclusively -- and you've got a picture here that, you know, the American people are very concerned about, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. Congressman Huelskamp, let's go back to what you're referring to earlier and that is National Intelligence Director James Clapper. This is what he said when asked directly if this was happening when Senator Wyden asked him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR RON WYDEN, D-ORE.: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on a millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

JAMES CLAPPER, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: No, sir.

WYDEN: It does not.

CLAPPER: Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, before I get to his clarification, was that a lie Congressman Huelskamp, in light of all what we know at this moment?

HUELSKAMP: In everything we know, it certainly looks and sounds like a lie, Sean. What was astounding in a classified briefing, saying, hey, I had to tell you a lie. And the people deserved to know. We do not have to sacrifice our individual liberties for security. It's difficult job to do. But Nixon's attorney general and his chief of staff were convicted of lying to Congress. And I think Clapper has done the same thing here.

HANNITY: All right. I never thought anybody could top Bill Clinton in terms of parsing words. "We were alone but I never really thought we're alone," I mean, which is one of my old time favorite parsings. But now we've got Clapper actually, this is what he said to ABC News trying to clarify what was a lie that he said to Senator Wyden. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLAPPER: I have great respect for Senator Wyden. I thought, though in retrospect, I was asked, "When are you going to start -- stop beating your wife" kind of question, which is meaning not answerable necessarily by a simple yes or no. So I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: The least untruthful manner. But it was happening. He knew it was happening and Wyden knew that he knew it was happening, right, Congressman King?

KING: It looks to me like he essentially confessed that he willfully misinformed Congress. And I will tell you that I've seen a number of these Cabinet members come before their committees that serve on. And I won't say that they come out and willfully tell us something that's dishonest. But they -- I've never seen them come with the intention of informing Congress. It should be here's the open book, we're doing the right thing, we want to inform you. Instead it's divert, it's obfuscated delay, it's run out the clock. I'm really out of patience with this administration. And I have in lied to in a classified setting in the past. So, if this is the case, it's not the first time.

HANNITY: All right. Guys, thank you both for being with us.

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