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Former CIA head Michael Morell: NSA has violated no one's privacy

Dec. 22, 2013 at 4:07 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, said Sunday he does not believe U.S. government eavesdropping has violated anyone's privacy.

Morell, appearing on the CBS news show "Face the Nation," suggested there are a number of misconceptions about the activities of the National Security Agency. He said, for example, that many people apparently believe the NSA has been "out there on its own doing all these things" when it actually operates under strict rules.

Asked by host Bob Schieffer if the NSA has violated anyone's privacy, Morell responded "no."

"The NSA is not spying on Americans. I think that is a perception that some have out there," he said. "It is not -- it is not focused on any single American. It is not reading the content of your phone calls or my phone calls or anybody else's phone calls. It is focused on this metadata for one purpose only, and that is to make sure that foreign terrorists aren't in contact with anybody in the United States."

Morell said he agrees there needs to be some tightening of the rules.

Morell said he does not believe former NSA contractor Edward Snowden should be given amnesty.

"He has committed a crime, in my view," he said. "You know, a whistle-blower doesn't run. A whistle-blower does not disclose information that has nothing to do with what he says his cause is, which is the privacy and civil liberties of Americans."

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