Face the Nation transcripts August 11, 2013: Hayden, King, and Ruppersberger

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(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on August 11, 2013, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Gen. Michael Hayden, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Eric Schmitt, Margaret Brennan, Len Downie, John Harris and Bill Keller.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And, good morning again. The retired Air Force General Michael Hayden, who served as both the CIA and NSA director, he now consults for the Chertoff Group here in Washington, joins us as our lead guest this morning. Well, General, the President made that news conference on Friday--

GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN (Former NSA Director/Former CIA Director): Right.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --and he said the American people need to know more about what the National Security Agency is doing because there are a growing number of people in the Congress who-- who are wondering is the NSA infringing on Americans' right to privacy? What do you think-- you ran the place.


BOB SCHIEFFER: What-- what do you think is the most significant thing that the President said?

GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN: Well, it was a very interesting speech, and it was a speech in front of a press conference. To me the most telling thing he said was, perhaps, something he didn't quite say. He didn't suggest he was going to operationally change this program. I mean there-- there is no suggestion that what he was doing and what President Bush was doing before him with regard to these programs was anything other than lawful, effective, and appropriate. And so that's I think the-- the first thing. He also suggested and I think this was heartening for people with backgrounds like me and, particularly, folks who are still doing this kind of work--he also suggested that the oversight regime for this was already quite good. He pointed out there have been no abuses under him or under his predecessor, but he does have this issue of confidence, this issue of transparency. And so the President is trying to take some steps to make the American people more comfortable about what it is we're doing. That's going to be hard because, frankly, Bob, some steps to make Americans more comfortable will actually make Americans less safe.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, some of the privacy advocates when they hear you say well the good news is he didn't-- what he didn't say he is not going to change anything. That's going to-- that might cause them to be a little uneasy.

GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN: Well, I don't know. And-- and if you look at the commentary on this, folks from the so-called left, are a bit uneasy. They don't want a little more transparency with regard to the metadata program. They want the program stopped. I don't think it will be.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you a little about one of the things he proposed for the FISA Court. This is the court that meets in secret and any time NSA comes across something they think we need to go in and listen in because they don't listen in, just because they get a tip or something.


BOB SCHIEFFER: They have to go to this court to get permission to listen in.

GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN: Right. If the target is an American person.

BOB SCHIEFFER: If it's an American person. Now one of the things that the President is talking about doing is adding a kind of a privacy advocate--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --on to the court. This would be someone that when the government comes in and says, "We need to go in and wiretap this person. We need to eavesdrop." This person would say, "Wait a minute, here. That's going too far. You really don't have a reason to do that."


BOB SCHIEFFER: Is that workable?

GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN: You know the President was-- was, I think, quite artful with that portion of his commentary. He didn't quite say what you said. There are two kinds of decisions that the court makes. One is getting a warrant on an individual person. The other, these broad questions of lawfulness about broad programs, I think the President was talking about that and was not talking about getting a public defender in there for Tony Soprano every time you want to go up on a wiretap with him. Now, the question becomes is that more narrowly defined, that privacy advocate, is that a good or a bad idea? It may be useful for transparency, Bob. It may be useful for confidence, but-- but-- but let me tell you, right, looking through your windscreen when you lay this on, it just looks like more thorough oversight. Okay. When you're looking in your rearview mirror after the next successful attack, this runs the danger of looking like bureaucratic layering and so you need to be careful about how many processes you put in there, even though, I freely admit you don't get to do this at all unless the American people feel comfortable about it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well-- well let me just cite an example and let's say that the NSA runs across something that they think an attack on the country is imminent--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --and they want to go into the court and say, "We got to do this right now."


BOB SCHIEFFER: Is it feasible? Is it practical? Is it even possible to say, "Well, wait, let's-- let's argue this a bit?" I mean it would seem to me that time was of the essence.

GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN: No, it is very much of the essence. Now, again, if it's just going up on a specific number I-- I think that can happen rather quickly, and I don't think-- frankly, I don't think the President is arguing for an advocate there. But if now, you'll find yourself in a period of increased danger-- let me make something up, Bob. And this is no one's proposal. All right. But you got this metadata here. It's now queried under very, very narrow circumstances. If the nation suffers an attack, there are other things you could do with that metadata. There are other tools. So in that kind of an emergency, perhaps, you would go to the court and say, "In addition to these very limited queries we're now allowed to do, we actually want to launch some complex algorithms against it." That's the kind of argument that, frankly, even I could accept you might want to have an advocate there.