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The NSA Director General Keith Alexander up on Capitol Hill today this as a new polling suggest America is.
Not so sure first of all NSA secretly collecting phone records of millions.
But US citizens unacceptable.
Invades privacy 62%.
And then you -- acceptable 42% and then how much trust and confidence do you have in the federal government.
A great deal 5% fair amount 32% nation's 63%.
Either not that much were not at all.
This also as the and -- -- leaker was speaking out again today.
Edwards no -- telling the south China morning post I've had many opportunities to flee Hong Kong.
But I would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts because I have faith in Hong Kong's rule of law my intention -- to pass the course and the people of Hong Kong.
To decide my fate.
With all that let's bring in our panel Steve Hayes senior writer for the weekly standard here's some powers columnist for the Daily Beast and syndicated columnist Charles program.
Okay Steve today the NSA director.
Said that this program has stopped dozens of terrorist events.
He didn't get specific.
Do they have to its pursuit.
Yes I think they have to get specific and I think they will get specific.
But the real question is who's going to be the one -- explain this to the American people -- mean we've heard from Dianne Feinstein we heard from Mike Rogers.
We -- from Keith Alexander there's one person we haven't heard from that's President Obama.
There's a reason that he retained these programs.
Some would argue the expanded and others would say that he basically kept them in -- same form.
But the -- the United States believes that there effective enough that we need to keep them.
He needs to be the one who's leading -- argument.
And giving us I think some specifics there's been some debate there a sense on the -- that he's not going to.
Yeah I think there's concern both on Capitol Hill -- the intelligence community that the president has not -- stepping forward and if you look at.
Jay Carney -- press briefing yesterday for instance as sort of -- leading indicator of where the administration has.
I think there's frustration among intelligence officials who say the president has asked us to keep this program he believes it's effective.
He's getting massive amounts of information particularly from this program that they're talking about as prism.
-- 702 program.
And yet he's not the one out there leading the defense -- enabling other people to lead the defense in a way that would persuade the American people those poll numbers are not particularly surprising because all we've heard about.
Over the past week is the invasion of privacy we haven't heard any details or any substantive or serious details about what.
Terrorist incidents they might prevent it.
The senate let's just be clear the prism 702 is the tapping into the Internet the FaceBook Google and Yahoo! all those accounts for foreign.
Suspects were people there looking at from foreign non Americans in the country the other is the phone records across the board billions of them the -- What he wasn't seeing that the first poll question was is it okay for the government to secretly do this.
And be an end to me what -- what they were doing it right that's -- I think that it.
I wonder if people did what's if Obama did what Steve is saying he should you he came out and spoke openly about -- -- people feel the same way about it so for example.
IA and you know I am essentially comparable with at least that the data mining program as long as there's some limit on how on the keep the data and they're spies oversight.
-- is I'm still sort of waiting to make a judgment on.
But what bothers me is that it was kept secret.
And that the only way we found out about it was because of the sleeker and these witnesses these programs -- not -- -- be classified the idea that somehow terrorists don't know.
That the US government is watching.
Phone calls and an email is it's absurd so I think that a big problem here is just to secrecy trust.
And the lack.
Leadership is Steve indicates I mean -- Where's the president here is a present.
Who travels a number of troops in Afghanistan veterans speak about it for a couple of years and -- -- -- the country loses interest in the war yesterday in the end -- -- He did the same month a whole host of other issues when he simply -- like in Libya and -- doesn't believe.
On this issue if it is as important has he says he should be the one that they're making at least one speech.
Instead he's up in Massachusetts.
Campaigning on behalf of a Democrat and in fact we needed to one speech he did give.
Was a month ago in which he he basically talked about.
The event's theme the underlying ideas of his foreign policy that -- wasn't that the tide awards receiving.
The war on terror has to stop that's when he said -- war stopped.
There's to a nice do we want to repeal -- authorization for the use of force as a result of September 11 so here's a guy who say it's over.
You essentially one I'm winding -- down.
And you do the same time he's running these unbelievably huge invasive.
Program whose only idea whose only basis is the vast terror threat out there so here's -- only support his program.
He contradicts -- in public and that's the total absence of leadership and I think that's why -- his numbers to poll numbers -- -- How has our our -- are markedly down.
-- let's take a look at that job pres Obama's job performance.
Number for the approve disapprove.
Now approve 44%.
And then -- January we're essentially -- one thing.
To clarify what Snowden said in that interview about what he could do at his computer as.
A contract employee with Booz Allen.
Was pushed back today when senator Collins asked of that.
I sitting my desk certainly have the authorities to to wiretap anyone.
From did you -- your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had -- personally now.
-- -- Full signed -- no way to do that.
It's I was there's parts of the story that you kinda have to have yet.
Iron out and it seems like some some.
Folks they don't know either -- don't know about -- don't know enough about it or just talking about it the wrong way.
But many parts -- and I think it the more we learn about the claims that Snowe of -- and an original interview in the discussions they had with the folks at the guardian guardian in the Washington Post.
They are holding up under additional scrutiny and and you know this idea as he says there that he had the authorities.
To do that is I think patently false the question is whether he had the capability.
-- -- I'm assuming authority has like a tornado that's a pretty important distinction I would I would argue sure I don't think he had I don't think he necessarily -- capabilities and if he did.
It would be because his assistant administrator these things internally at the NSA if you access a programmer go -- you're not authorized to go.
It will send up a flag if you if you try to get into a program that you did you have no access to.
It will send -- a flag and an alarm and the question is whether as assistant administrator he was able to basically.
Disable those and see this more broadly and one of the things that I think people are concerned about it that he might be able to.
-- -- we know that there and there's more information coming from snow and the question is did he actually do that and if he -- he can -- -- And I was subject of this hearing how did he get to that position to have all that access one more poll very quickly Pearson.
Three congress should continue to investigate.
And -- 73 for.
And that that explains president's low poll numbers right there it's just it is just a piling on of one thing after another.
An and I think that people are just getting really frustrated.
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