November 3rd, 2013
09:01 AM ET

Hayden: If the president says he didn't know, he didn't know

Fareed speaks with former CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden about the controversy over alleged U.S. spying on allied leaders. Watch the full interview today at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

What about the issue of whether or not the White House knew, whether or not the president knew? Dianne Feinstein claims that she didn't know. What troubles many of us is not the actual activities here...


But the idea that they are happening in some kind of strange gray zone where it's not entirely clear who is authorizing this stuff and whether it’s being overseen in an appropriate manner for a constitutional democracy.

Yes. Here's how I would look at it.  If the president says he didn't know, he didn't know. I just take that at face value. If, however, Fareed, we get sentences like the White House didn't know or the administration didn't know or the National Security Council didn't know, boy, I've really got problems accepting that.

What is it they thought we were going to do with those intelligence requirements? And where did they think this stuff was coming from when we answered those requirements?

In other words, they would have given general directives, and they should have been smart enough to realize how that stuff was being collected?

Fareed, at a minimum. At a minimum.

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Topics: GPS Show

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. ✠RZ✠

    Once again the unmistakable point that is clearly being highlighted here is that the President is neither aware nor in charge. So who is? "They" are.

    November 3, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  2. Allan Kinsman

    The German former defense minister said the president knew this summer but waited until German political representatives visited Washington until this was disclosed rather than letting German leadership know when the president knew. This I believe is a failure in leadership and perhaps why there are serious questions coming from our German friends. I think we may need to review and reconsider some former policies to make sure in the future our intelligence agencies go about collecting data on terrorism which does not include the personal phone calls of allies.

    November 3, 2013 at 10:35 am |
  3. Jerbils for Peace

    I thought Hayden was a member of the "Intelligence community". Surely he knows that members of this administration are capable of lying, especially when it is expedient. When did he know that they did not know? Christ!

    November 3, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  4. Reason

    We're all wire tapped. It's the price that we pay for being safe.

    The pedantic re-iteration and parroting of what has been said all week long only indicates that you're catering. I'm not sure why you'd need to do it. Don't waste your golden opportunity to speak truth.

    Here's a thought: if the electronic monitoring system is a dragnet, how in God's name can any even slightly intelligent individual going to expect that they'll be an exception to the rule and that everyone around then will be tapped except them?? The Germans' and anyone else's reaction of indigence is respectable up and only up to the point of questioning why they were spied upon. All the ensuing drama is nothing short of DISINGENUOUS !!!!!

    Fareed's jumping on the band wagon is nothing short of CATERING. As usual it will gain you points with your employers. Quite sad indeed. I hope CNN posts this blog.

    November 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  5. pete

    i would like cnn to compare the us governments defensive position to the allegations that they are spying on eu allies (and gov officials) and outrage to the allegations that the chinese sping on them?

    to me there seems to be a double standards....

    November 4, 2013 at 5:26 am |
  6. Markus

    NATO alliance should have a defense plan against non-NATO alliance countries. We know that South Koreans and Chinese use sophisticated spy technology, incl. satellites, to spy against Western NATO countries – and this is not acceptable.

    November 4, 2013 at 7:42 am |
  7. JAL

    I think everyone should try to understand quantum mechanics, simply to observe and appreciate the noble efforts to characterize uncertainty.

    November 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • JAL

      Patent application submission process complete..

      November 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  8. j. von hettlingen

    It's quite likely that Obama wasn't aware that Angela Merkel's cell phone had been tapped. He would have said "NO" to it. It just shows that the NSA activities had gone out of control that it was only a matter of time that got exposed.

    November 5, 2013 at 6:05 am |
    • Yes Sir

      I think you are right because President Obama is a trustworthy individual and Angela Merkel is his good friend. He is a faithful husband and a father of two adorable little girls. Please know that I am not a racist, that is why I believe Mr President Obama.

      November 5, 2013 at 6:44 am |

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