Powerline’s John Hinderaker has key excerpts from a speech by the NSA’s former director, General Michael Hayden. John boiled Hayden’s speech and Q&A down, and I will boil it down a second time:
[T]here are no communications more important to the safety of this country than those affiliated with al Qaeda with one end in the United States. The president’s authorization allows us to track this kind of call more comprehensively and more efficiently. The trigger is quicker and a bit softer than it is for a FISA warrant, but the intrusion into privacy is also limited: only international calls and only those we have a reasonable basis to believe involve al Qaeda or one of its affiliates.
Democrats object to this. They want it to end, and all intercepts to be run –less comprehensively, less efficiently, with a slower and harder to pull trigger– and I don’t.
That is the issue for the campaigns ahead in 2006.