NSA Wiretaps: General Hayden Speaks

In “Hayden Delivers Impassioned Defense of NSA,” Powerline excerpts Hayden’s Speech to the National Press Club (PDF). One section that jumped out at me was:

GEN. HAYDEN: You know, we’ve had this question asked several times. Public discussion of how we determine al Qaeda intentions, I just — I can’t see how that can do anything but harm the security of the nation. And I know people say, “Oh, they know they’re being monitored.” Well, you know, they don’t always act like they know they’re being monitored. But if you want to shove it in their face constantly, it’s bound to have an impact. [C]onstant revelations and speculation and connecting the dots in ways that I find unimaginable, and laying that out there for our enemy to see cannot help but diminish our ability to detect and prevent attacks.

It jumped out at me because I discussed precisely his issue about a month ago:

The first is enhancing terrorist awareness of their threat environment. This is important. As time passes, people become complacent. As they become complacent, their investment in security processes drops off.

In “Do Wiretap Revelations Help The Terrorists,” I analyze this line of thought, and believe that there’s much that Hayden couldn’t or didn’t talk about. Perhaps that’s a result of the wiretapping agency not being the agency that does other parts of counter-intelligence. Regardless, if you’re following the story closely, you ought to read his remarks.