The National Security Agency (NSA) has repeatedly come under scrutiny for its surveillance of millions of Americans' emails and phone calls. As director of the agency from 1999 to 2005, General Michael Hayden was tasked with leading some of its most controversial actions.
In part two of Mehdi Hasan's interview with Hayden, the general defends the NSA's mass surveillance and stands by his comment that Edward Snowden is a defector.
"Whistle-blowing requires someone to actually point out a violation of law and [Snowden] has not done that," Hayden says.
The former NSA director also discusses the secret programme, Stellar Wind, which was authorised after the 9/11 attacks. Under the programme the NSA collected Americans' internet metadata without court-approved warrants.
When pressed by Mehdi Hasan, Hayden says: "I didn't believe it was illegal, the attorney general at the time did not believe it was illegal and ... my lawyers at NSA were very conservative about these kinds of things - they didn't think it was illegal either."
Watch part one of Mehdi Hasan's interview with Michael Hayden, in which the former CIA director discusses the CIA's interrogation methods and the US drone programme.
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Source: Al Jazeera