Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How does he lie to you?
Let us count the ways

Your blogstress is not one to lob the "L" word around -- no, not THAT L word; rather, she speaks of the one that ends in I-E. Yet so brazen was the section of the president's State of the Union speech that addressed his domestic spying program that your cybertrix calls her readers to this: Count the number of lies in the following passage:

It is said that prior to the attacks of September 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack – based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute – I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have – and Federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed. This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to know about it – because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
Un, deux, trois--non, mes amis, non! C'est six!
1. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late.
Now, now, to say that we didn't know of their plans may be technically accurate, but one could argue that the ignorance, if not willful, had more to do with institutional fecklessness than any legalistic obstruction. Just ask Cathleen Rowley, the FBI agent who tried to get her higher-ups to look at the case of a would-be 9-11 highjacker who took flight lessons, while declining to learn how to land the plane. FBI attorneys declined to apply for FISA warrants to investigate the ties of Zacharias Moussaoui, presumed to have been part of the the 9-11 plot--much to the chagrin of agents who wished to pursue him. And let us not forget the presidential briefing Bush received in August of 2001 in which he was told that al Qaeda sought access to planes for the purpose of crashing them into buildings.
2. So to prevent another attack – based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute – I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America.
Perhaps more a prevarication than a lie, this one. Your Webwench cannot challenge the president's claim to be aggressively pursuing communications between al Qaeda types and others, however, the program he has authorized -- the tapping of U.S. citizens and residents without court orders -- operates through the sifting of vast amounts of unfiltered e-mail, and the tapping into main trunks of regional telephone systems. In other words, it ain't just al Qaeda being looked at by our friends at the National Security Agency, mes cheris; c'est moi, c'est toi. NSA nous aimes!
3. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have – and Federal courts have approved the use of that authority.
Here we enter into the territory of the outright lie. Actually, this is two lies in one. Previous presidents have NOT used the same "constitutional" authority, as the constitutional authority of Bush's actions is much in question, given the fact that it appears to circumvent a law passed by the U.S. Congress. The law is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which forbids spying on U.S. "persons" in the course of the conduct of foreign intelligence without applying for a warrant from a special, super-secret FISA court. And, as the non-partisan Congressional Research Service just recently concluded in a report released last week, no court has ruled on the president's authority to circumvent such an act of Congress.
4. Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed.
Not if you ask them. By "appropriate" members of Congress, the president means the leading figures on the House and Senate intelligence committees. On the Senate side, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said he received inadequate information and requested more. In the House, ranking Democrat Jane Harman (Calif.) said she had been left in the dark as to the full scope of the plan. And Bob Graham, former senator from Florida and then-ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee said he was never told of any domestic component to the program.
This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks.
FBI sources have said that this program has had little, if any, impact on its antiterrorism efforts.
6. It remains essential to the security of America.
Here, your net-tĂȘte invites her readers to be the judge.

Sphere: Related Content

One door closes...

...and another one opens. Exit the era of Coretta Scott King--she who embraced civil rights for all, even non-heterosexuals--and enter the era of Justice Samuel Alito--he who appears to embrace rights for only the few, and who claims to have belonged to an organization that opposed the admission of women and minorities to his alma mater.

Blessed Mother, pray for us sinners...

Sphere: Related Content