Cheney: Congress ‘In Effect Signed Off’ on NSA Spying

by Patrick Brennan

Vice President Dick Cheney explained this morning how the recently revealed National Security Agency data-monitoring program was originally authorized. He explained that “when we set up this program back in ’01,” former NSA director Michael Hayden brought the proposed operation to him and discussed it with him in the vice president’s office. Then, Cheney said, “I took them to the president and he signed off on them with some restrictions.”

“We briefed certain members of Congress,” Cheney said, including the senior members of the intelligence committees, and then “eventually we [briefed] the elected leadership of the Congress.” Thus, Cheney said, Congress “in effect signed off on it.”

Asked later by Fox News’s Chris Wallace whether he was concerned by the NSA’s work, Cheney explained that he trusted the men who’d originated the program and now run it, saying “I know [current NSA chief] Keith Alexander, I know Mike Hayden very well.”

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