In Response To Rep. Thompson On NSA, Hayden

First and foremost, we are a nation at war. One of our most important weapons in this war against terror is information. The Terrorist Surveillance Program is crucial to gathering intelligence on terrorist activities.

The terrorists are smart and have adapted to our old modes of information gathering. For now, we are far better at gathering information than our enemy. It is an advantage we must exploit, and it is keeping us safe. Every time a leak of properly classified national security information occurs, our ability to gather information on those who would do us harm is eroded.

Preventing the NSA from legally using the tools at its disposal to monitor terrorist activities will only make the United States more susceptible to attack.

This weekend's raid in Canada proves the point that terrorists are plotting to attack us, right under our noses. Through my briefings in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I am confident the NSA is acting not only within the law, but also in the best interest of Americans. Our civil liberties are not being violated. The American people are not the target of any of our information gathering efforts; al-Qaeda is the target.

It is no accident we are almost five years removed from 9/11 and our nation has not been hit again. We are using every legal source of information to fight this war and help keep this country safe. The American people in poll after poll have supported this, and they have every right to expect the government to use every tool we can to protect them. The Terrorist Surveillance Program is one of the many legal tools we have, will and must use!