I appreciate the question. He's talking about the terrorist surveillance program that was -- created quite a kerfuffle in the press, and I owe an explanation to. Because our people -- first of all, after September the 11th, I spoke to a variety of folks on the front line of protecting us, and I said, is there anything more we could be doing, given the current laws? And General Mike Hayden of the NSA said there is. The FISA law -- he's referring to the FISA law, I believe -- is -- was designed for a previous period, and is slow and cumbersome in being able to do what Mike Hayden thinks is necessarily -- called hot pursuit.
And so he designed a program that will enable us to listen from a known al Qaeda, or suspected al Qaeda person and/or affiliate, from making any phone call outside the United States in, or inside the United States out -- with the idea of being able to pick up quickly information for which to be able to respond in this environment that we're in. I was concerned about the legality of the program, and so I asked lawyers -- which you got plenty of them in Washington -- (laughter) -- to determine whether or not I could do this legally. And they came back and said, yes. That's part of the debate which you're beginning to see.
I fully understood that Congress needed to be briefed. And so I had Hayden and others brief members of the Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, House members and senators, about the program. The program is under constant review. I sign a reauthorization every -- I'm not exactly sure -- 45 days, say. It's something like that. In other words, it's constantly being reviewed. There's an IG that is very active at the NSA to make sure that the program stays within the bounds that it was designed.
I fully understand people's concerns about it, but ours is a town, by the way, in Washington, where when you don't connect the dots, you're held up to Congress, and when you do connect the dots, you're held up to Congress. I believe what I'm doing is constitutional, and I know it's necessary. And so we're going to keep doing it.