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Iran Press TV

Former CIA director to Obama: Keep spying, ignore review panel

Iran Press TV

Thu Jan 2, 2014 4:28PM GMT

Former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency has called on President Obama to show "some political courage" and reject many of the recommendations by the panel he appointed to review the NSA's spying activities.

"President Obama now has the burden of simply doing the right thing," retired General Michael Hayden, told USA TODAY's Capital Download on Monday.

In the wake of the revelations made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the US government's spying activities, Obama appointed a panel of experts to review the NSA's spying programs and recommend some reforms.

The White House issued a 308-page report in December based on the findings of the advisory panel. The report included 46 recommendations, none of which the administration is obliged to undertake.

"I think some of the right things with regard to the commission's recommendations are not the popular things. They may not poll real well right now. They'll poll damn well after the next attack, all right?" Hayden said.

Hayden, who led the US spy agency from 1999 to 2005, oversaw the creation of many controversial secret programs following the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks. He later defended them as effective programs that were overseen by congressional intelligence committees.

He also appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, saying he has changed his opinion about Snowden as he "used to say he was a defector" but now he thinks "traitor" is a more appropriate word to describe Snowden.

However, Thomas Drake, a former senior executive within the NSA who was himself a whistleblower, says, "There is no evidence on public record that he [Snowden] has defected or betrayed his country."

Over the past seven months, Snowden has disclosed documents that have brought to light the scope and scale of the US government's spying activities across the globe.

In an interview with The Washington Post on December 23, Snowden said his "mission's already accomplished" because he "wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself."

Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia in August, faces espionage charges in the US and even some former US officials have suggested that he should be "hanged" if convicted of treason.

The editorial boards of The New York Times and The Guardian have called on the Obama administration to allow Snowden safe passage back to the US.


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