Thursday, August 23, 2007

McConnell says FISA debate will kill Americans

I saw this through Carpetbagger, and I'm just amazed at the audacity of this Bush administration. This is a transcript of a question and answer session with National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell, regarding the changes in the FISA law. The original source is through The El Paso Times:

Q: Even if it's perception, how do you deal with that? You have to do public relations, I assume.

A: Well, one of the things you do is you talk to reporters. And you give them the facts the best you can. Now part of this is a classified world. The fact we're doing it this way means that some Americans are going to die, because we do this mission unknown to the bad guys because they're using a process that we can exploit and the more we talk about it, the more they will go with an alternative means and when they go to an alternative means, remember what I said, a significant portion of what we do, this is not just threats against the United States, this is war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Q. So you're saying that the reporting and the debate in Congress means that some Americans are going to die?

A. That's what I mean. Because we have made it so public. We used to do these things very differently, but for whatever reason, you know, it's a democratic process and sunshine's a good thing. We need to have the debate. The reason that the FISA law was passed in 1978 was an arrangement was worked out between the Congress and the administration, we did not want to allow this community to conduct surveillance, electronic surveillance, of Americans for foreign intelligence unless you had a warrant, so that was required. So there was no warrant required for a foreign target in a foreign land. And so we are trying to get back to what was the intention of '78. Now because of the claim, counterclaim, mistrust, suspicion, the only way you could make any progress was to have this debate in an open way.

This is just WOW! What McConnell has just said is that ANY sort of debate within Congress on the FISA law, and perhaps the entire Bush domestic spying program on Americans, will cause Americans to die at the hands of the terrorists. Let me repeat that again--A debate in Congress on the changes in the FISA law will cause Americans to die in terrorist attacks. How much more insanely crazed and stupid can this statement be--especially when it is said by the National Intelligence Director? So congressional oversight into this Bush administration's entire secret domestic spying program on American citizens will kill American citizens because then the terrorists will know that the Bush administration is secretly spying on them.

I'm getting a headache here.

What is so insane here, and Carpetbagger noted this as well, is that if I am a reasonably intelligent al Qaeda terrorist, I would expect to know that the U.S. is listening in on cell phone conversations, tapping phone lines, conducting data mining operations, and even looking at bank and financial transactions. But McConnell is assuming that the al Qaeda terrorists are stupid in that they don't know that the Bush administration is conducting this massive intelligence gathering operation, and that if we reveal the details of the domestic spying programs to the American public, then the terrorists will know and they will resort to "alternative means," of communication--however you define "alternative means." Or what is worst is that McConnell is assuming that the American public are so stupid into believing the al Qaeda boogyman is about to strike at any time, so the Bush administration needs to take away Americans' rights to privacy and illegal searches and seizures in order to protect them from the evil terrorists. And in order to keep this domestic spying program in place, the Bush White House is again using fear--in this case, the fear of a congressional debate on FISA will kill Americans. This is not about fighting terrorists, or gathering intelligence on al Qaeda operations. It is about the Bush administration keeping their extreme police powers, and eroding American civil and constitutional rights to the state. This is just another example of the Bush PR-spin of fear on the American public.

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