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Petitions for Snowden Encounter Officialdom in Washington

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WASHINGTON - March 26 -

Former NSA Director Hayden Responds to News Conference 
State Department Rebuffs Effort to Deliver Petition 
Justice Department Accepts Documents With 100,000 Signers

The Department of Justice accepted a pair of petitions with more than 100,000 signers on Wednesday ­­- several thousand pages urging restoration of Edward Snowden's passport and an ironclad U.S. government commitment not to interfere with political asylum for the National Security Agency whistleblower.

Acceptance of the petitions by the Justice Department at its Washington headquarters followed an attempt earlier in the day to deliver the passport-­related petition to the State Department, which declined to accept that 2,670-page petition.

Both petitions, sponsored by the activist organization and posted online, include thousands of individual comments. (Petition regarding Snowden's passport, addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry. "Hands Off Snowden" petition addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama)

Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA as well as of the Central Intelligence Agency, responded to criticism voiced at a Tuesday news conference by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. whose responsibilities for the agency included preparing the President's Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence Estimates. McGovern blasted Hayden's portrayal of the Fourth Amendment and said that "NSA" seems to stand for "No Such Amendment." (McGovern's comments and Hayden's response in the Government Executive article "Should Edward Snowden Get His Passport Back?")

Another speaker at the news conference was former whistleblower Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent and division counsel who was named one of Time magazine's "Persons of the Year" in 2002. On Wednesday, she responded to Hayden's comment with this statement: "Hayden's partial response seems to be an attempt to obfuscate the fact that even the lower relevancy standard ingrained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 and also in Section 215 of the 'Patriot Act' was explicitly written to apply for use only in particular investigations of targeted suspects."   
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