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Carly Fiorina on providing HP servers to the NSA: 'I felt it was my duty to help'

'What I knew at the time was our nation had been attacked.'

Scott Olson/Getty Images

During a new interview with Yahoo News, Carly Fiorina acknowledged providing truckloads of HP servers to the NSA in 2001 at the request of then-director Michael Hayden.

"What I knew at the time was our nation had been attacked."

"I felt it was my duty to help, and so we did," Fiorina said, according to Yahoo News. "They were ramping up a whole set of programs and needed a lot of data crunching capability to try and monitor a whole set of threats ... What I knew at the time was our nation had been attacked."

Fiorina was CEO of HP at the time, and Hayden recalled telling her, "Carly, I need stuff and I need it now," in the weeks after the September 11th attacks. That "stuff" was a massive amount of servers, which were apparently rerouted from Tennessee to the NSA's Fort Meade, Maryland headquarters. The servers went toward building the controversial NSA warrantless surveillance program "Stellar Wind." (The relationship between Fiorina and the agency has been reported on before.)

In 2006, Hayden became CIA director, and named Fiorina to chair an advisory board — where she reportedly recommended the agency engage in more transparency. One example she cited of greater transparency, according to Yahoo, was the NSA's Utah Data Center. "People need to understand why, what is that for?" she said, according to the site.

However, she claimed she was "not aware of circumstances" where the NSA's surveillance "went too far," and also defended the practice of waterboarding as a way to "keep our nation safe."