Without a doubt the most absurd claim made during all the recent NSA stories has to come from Fox News' Geraldo Rivera when he warned: "If Congress doesn’t stop this guy, General Hayden, next he’ll be peeking in our bedrooms. " The following came from Rivera's final commentary segment on last night's syndicated Geraldo At Large:
Geraldo Rivera: "Now it’s your problem too. Remember when President Bush acknowledged that the super secret National Security Agency was indeed spying on Americans without search warrants by listening in to and taping international phone calls? Remember how the President justified it?"
[George W. Bush: "If they’re making phone calls into the United States we need to know why to protect you."]
Rivera: "As the crowd cheered most of us could say, ‘Hey I don’t make international phone calls, I’ve got nothing to hide. Let them spy. It has nothing to do with me.’ Well now it does remember when Air Force General Michael Hayden, the former head of the NSA and the guy just picked to head the CIA said this?"
[General Michael Hayden: "This is not about intercepting conversations between people in the United States. This is hot pursuit of communications entering or leaving America involving someone we believe is associated with al Qaeda."]
Rivera: "Is that so General? Remember that old saying, ‘Liar, liar pants on fire?’
[Bush: "We’re not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans. Our efforts are focused on links to al Qaeda and their known affiliates."]
Rivera: "Only one company, Qwest, to its credit is refusing to turn over your phone records. This is South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham."
[Lindsey Graham: "The idea of collecting millions or thousands of phone numbers, how does that fit in to following the enemy? I need to know the answer to that and what legal justification would one have collecting phone numbers without a phone call on the other end?"]
Rivera: "Senator those are great questions. With all due respect to the President, who I do respect, if Congress doesn’t stop this guy, General Hayden, next he’ll be peaking in our bedrooms. That’s it for us. Until next time thanks for watching."
It turns out the government is also collecting records of ordinary Americans’ phone calls to one another within the United States. That’s right, if you’re a customer of AT&T, Verizon or BellSouth, as I am, then your company has been turning over a list of all your phone calls to the National Security Agency, according to a blistering report which first appeared in USA Today. According to the report, which the President today did not deny although he did criticize the leaks on which it was based, the NSA is now tracking, without a warrant, all your phone calls. Do you hear that grandma? The President, today, insisted that this newly exposed activity was also aimed only at al Qaeda."