After 9/11 when the Patriot Act and other legislation were fast-tracked through the congress, included in this wave of knee-jerk reactionary legislation was the formation of secret courts wherein secret warrants could be issued to law enforcement and security agencies to search, monitor and wiretap suspects in the war on terror and their enablers. I am still unsold as to the need for these secret courts and warrants. I doubt that the potential objects of this surveillance have the means to monitor the existing legal apparatus such that they would learn of a regular warrant being issued and alter or cancel their plans. Nevertheless, these secret courts and warrants exist, and any law enforcement or intelligence agencies who are paranoid about their investigations being discovered can utilize them to obtain warrants where needed. I do not have any way of verifying my suspicions but I suspect that the grounds needed to obtain such warrants are probably not extensive or problematic for said law enforcement or intelligence agencies. I certainly would not want to be the judge that slowed down or turned down a request for a warrant that would have, if issued with haste, prevented the next 9/11.
Despite all of this, General Hayden tells us that these secret courts and warrants are not enough, the NSA needs to be able to wiretap American citizens at the Presidents behest without such pesky requirements as going through any semblance of the legal system, secret or not. Any American who thinks the Constitution and Bill of Rights are more than just a cute idea should recoil at any such suggestion. I also believe that acting in such a matter may very well violate the oath of office taken by both Hayden and Bush to "Defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic ". Isn 't someone who ignores express contents of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to take away the rights of American citizens an enemy? I have to ask Hayden why he thinks all military officers are required to take that oath, if not to take the Constitution and the freedoms it provides with ultimate seriousness. There are too many questions about General Hayden and his commitment to the Constitution to allow him to continue in any important governmental role. The Senate should not confirm his appointment to CIA Director and General Hayden should retire.