Friday, January 27, 2006

Hayden May Have Helms-Type Testimony Problems

Current Deputy Director of National Intelligence, the former head of NSA, Gen. Michael Hayden may be in a bit of hot water, according to Think Progress.

Former national security wonk Morton Halperin has found 2002 testimony in which Gen. Hayden apparently, as Bush would term it, "disassembled."

Hayden misled Congress. In his 10/17/02 testimony, he told a committee investigating the 9/11 attacks that any surveillance of persons in the United States was done consistent with FISA.

At the time of his statements, Hayden was fully aware of the presidential order to conduct warrantless domestic spying issued the previous year. But Hayden didn'’t feel as though he needed to share that with Congress. Apparently, Hayden believed that he had been legally authorized to conduct the surveillance, but told Congress that he had no authority to do exactly what he was doing. The Fraud and False Statements statute (18 U.S.C. 1001) make Hayden'’s misleading statements to Congress illegal.

Hayden's fate lies with the tale of another spymaster, Nixon-era CIA Director Richard Helms.

Testifying under oath before a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1973, Richard Helms claimed that CIA was not involved in attempts to overthrow Salvador Allende of Chile:

SEN. SYMINGTON: Did you try in the Central Intelligence agency to overthrow the government of Chile?

MR. HELMS: No, sir.

SEN. SYMINGTON: Did you have any money passed to the opponents of Allende?

MR. HELMS: No, sir.

By the time Helms was called to testify again, CIA activities in Chile had become public knowledge. In 1977, Richard Helms pleaded no contest to charges of lying to Congress and served a suspended sentence.

Helms was also fined. His CIA colleagues paid the fine and cheered him as he exited the courthouse on Judiciary Square.

He lived out the rest of a long life as a hero and role model to people like George Tenet and legions of young CIA officers.

I wonder if Gen. Hayden will be so unrepentant when and if he is ever called to the carpet on his Congressional testimony?


Blogger DrewL said...

Based on what is eminating from the Bush administration on this, he'll probably just say that it was a top-secret program that he wasn't at liberty to talk about. The Bushies seem to believe that they can do anything they want in secrecy, so there's no question that Hayden will do the same.

Congress needs to hold their feet to the fire on this.

1/27/2006 7:11 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Drew L:

That is the exact same defense that Richard Helms used.

The court didn't buy it.

Although that was before 9-11. And as we all know. 9-11 changed everything.

1/27/2006 7:28 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

Yeah, as we've seen, the Bush White House believes it can justify anything under the banner of the "war on terror". War justifies all. They're trying to change the rules and/or eliminate the rules. It's going to be up to the rest of us to make sure that doesn't happen. If we let them get away with it, we'll never get it back.

1/27/2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Drew L:


That's the thing about rights.

Once you have lost them, you can never get them back.

The 50-some percent of Americans who say that they are willing to give up liberty for security do not have the right to give up the rights of the rest of us.

1/27/2006 7:45 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

Ah, yes, the tyranny of the majority.

1/28/2006 1:20 AM  

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