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The Security Conundrum Series - Inside the NSA: An Evening with General Michael Hayden



General Michael Hayden, CIA, NSA
Amy Zegart, FSI, CISAC, Hoover Insitution

Date and Time

October 8, 2014 7:30 PM


CEMEX Auditorium

Knight Management Center

641 Knight Way, Stanford University

In an age of terrorism, where should a democratic society draw the line on government surveillance? Edward Snowden’s explosive disclosures about the National Security Agency’s intelligence-collection operations have ignited an intense debate about the appropriate balance between security and liberty in America. In a special series this year, nationally prominent experts will explore the critical issues raised by the NSA’s activities, including their impact on our security, privacy, and civil liberties. This timely series will address one of the most challenging questions the nation faces today as it tries to strike the right balance between safety and liberty.

The Security Conundrum will look behind and beyond the headlines, examining the history and implementation of the NSA operations, the legal questions generated by them, the media’s role in revealing them, and the responsibility of Congress to oversee them. It will also address the NSA’s uneasy and evolving relationship with Silicon Valley. Each session in the series is designed to explore these issues from a different vantage point. The guest speakers, in conversation with Stanford scholars, will probe the problems, explain the political, legal, and technological contours of the NSA actions, and outline ways to preserve the nation’s security without sacrificing our freedoms. 

Inside the NSA: An Evening with General Michael Hayden 

General Michael Hayden was director of the National Security Agency on September 11, 2001. After the attacks, at the request of the White House, he intensified and expanded NSA wiretapping operations of various communications between Americans and terrorist suspects abroad in hopes of detecting and preventing another terrorist attack. These initial efforts were executed without a court order and after being revealed by The New York Times, were subsequently placed under judicial review. Over time, the NSA’s efforts grew into the multidimensional programs exposed by Edward Snowden, including the collection and storage of phone and email metadata covering billions of calls and messages between American citizens. 

In conversation with Amy Zegart, General Hayden will provide an insider’s account about the origins and development of the NSA programs. He will also discuss the directives and mechanisms to control them, and the disagreements within the Bush administration about the extent of the wiretapping. He will offer his views on the justification, legal status, scale, and effectiveness of the NSA monitoring.

Michael V. Hayden
Former Director of the CIA and the NSA
Michael V. Hayden served as Director of the CIA (2006–2009), First Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (2005–2006), and Director of the National Security Agency (1999–2005). He is a retired United States Air Force four-star general and is now a principal of The Chertoff Group.

Amy Zegart
Davies Family Senior Fellow and Associate Director, Hoover Institution; Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science; Co-Director, Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation
Amy Zegart’s publications include Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11 and Eyes on Spies: Congress and the United States Intelligence Community. She has served on the National Research Council’s panel on improving intelligence analysis.

The Security Conundrum is co-sponsored by Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the Hoover Institution, Stanford Continuing Studies, Stanford in Government, and the Stanford Law School.