Michael Hayden’s wisdom:
Frankly, metadata is one way that you arrive at those specific targeting conclusions in a way that certainly, from the American perspective, does not squeeze privacy very much because it is bulk collection, not particularized collection.
According to the former Director of NSA, bulk metadata collection is more privacy protective than particularized collection is.
I get what he’s trying to say: because the government works at the level of metadata, NSA only looks at communications from an structural perspective, rather than listening in to find what to listen to, until it has reason to be interested in. That ignores everything you see from that network structure, and the degree to which it infringes on perfectly innocent associations.
More importantly, that Hayden doesn’t understand that the statement itself is nonsensical is a testament to how far down the rabbit hole he has gone.