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Lawmakers Seek Details of NSA Phone Project

News of domestic data-gathering by the National Security Agency dominates Capitol Hill for a second day. Lawmakers have had plenty of opportunity to ask Gen. Michael Hayden, the former head of the NSA, about the operation: Hayden is currently campaigning for Senate confirmation as director of the CIA.

Hayden has won wide praise for his personal abilities. But his ties to the NSA has even his supporters and Republican senators saying they needed to know more before confirming the Air Force general.

Two Republican senators who met with Hayden and discussed his nomination to be CIA director said that at his confirmation hearing next week, he must explain his role in collecting the phone records of millions of Americans.

Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) say Hayden should be forthcoming in his responses, since the program was begun while Hayden was the head of the NSA. They also urged the Bush administration to do a better job of informing Congress of such programs.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.