Monday, May 15, 2006

So How Many Terrorist Operatives Has the NSA Domestic Spying Program Netted?

Via Liberal Oasis, here's what happened when Blitzer popped the question to Bill Frist:

BLITZER: Are you comfortable with this program?

FRIST: Absolutely. Absolutely. I am one of the people who are briefed --

BLITZER: You've known about this for years.

FRIST: I've known about the program. I am absolutely convinced that you, your family, our families are safer because of this particular program.

I absolutely know that it is legal.

The program itself is anonymous, in the sense that identifiers, in terms of protecting your privacy, are stripped off.

And, as you know, the program is voluntary, the participants in that program...

...the only way to connect [the] dots is to use 21st-century technology that protects your privacy, and that's exactly what this does.

No “I can’t confirm or deny” business from Frist. He confirms. He details. He likes.

So Blitzer then tried to ask the question again:

Can you tell the American people right now that over these past almost five years since the phone records have been collected ... has [the program] resulted in thwarting one terrorist attack in the United States?

Suddenly, Frist’s interest in confirming and detailing fades:

FRIST: You know, I am not going to comment on the program until the appropriate time.

There has not been even a confirmation of the USA Today program itself. I --

BLITZER: But have you been briefed on one success story?

FRIST: I can tell you I've been briefed in a classified way, and I can tell you that I am absolutely, 100 percent sure, confident that this has protected and saved lives in the United States of America.

BLITZER: But has there been one success story that you can point to?

FRIST: I just don't want to be pulled in --

BLITZER: Without specifics, just tell us that there has been a terrorist attack that was plotted and, as a result of collecting these phone calls, was thwarted.

FRIST: You know, in appropriate hearings and settings, this will come out.

But this is classified information about a classified program.

You know, the more we talk about these programs, the more we're giving our playbook to the terrorists...

Of course, Frist wasn’t “giving our playbook” away 30 seconds prior when he was happily describing the program.

Only when asked, “did you actually catch anybody,” did answering become so fraught with danger.


  • Mac;

    Good catch!

    But the "ol' shell game" is still good
    for another 2 1/2 years.

    By Blogger Semanticleo, at 4:46 PM  

  • macswain:

    you and you're ilk are obviously rooting for another terrorist attack. Forget about "gotcha." Worry about the good of the country.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:31 PM  

  • Anonymous,

    Good point. Intelligent people should automatically support any program that the Bush administration says helps fight terrorism. Anyone (and their ilk) who questions whether or not the program forces Americans to give up too many civil liberties or whether or not the program is effective must (obviously) support the terrorists.

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