Monday, October 02, 2006

A Good Excuse For a Repost

I have briefly torn myself away from watching the hypnotic post before this one (it hasn't been easy).

The justified attention being paid to Bob Woodward's new book gives me an excuse to repost something from back in April. The Bush White House was calling whoever leaked the existence of the illegal NSA eavesdropping program a traitor, and saying that the New York Times was jeopardizing national security by letting the terrorists know we were listening.

I pointed out (as did some others) that the leaker was, in fact, Bush himself. He had bragged about it in 2001 in a conversation with the President of Pakistan, and then Bob Woodward published the conversation in 2002. Presumably the terrorists were wise to the program long before the Times article in 2005. But no one ever mentions this, and it's driving me crazy.

So forgive me for quoting my own blog, but like so many things the Administration says, this depends on your having no information or memory:


"Let's Hope They Don't Read Books"

"Now the other issue I brought up was the issue of the terrorist surveillance program. You bet the President has spoken out about its unauthorized disclosure, because what its disclosure has done is shown al Qaeda, our enemy, the play book. This is an enemy that watches us very closely. This is an enemy that adapts and adjusts when they learn information about our tactics. And it's important -- it's important, as we carry out this war on terrorism, that we don't do anything that could compromise our nation's security."

-- Scott McClellan, White House Press Briefing, 4/7/06

"He had become fascinated with the ability of the National Security Agency to intercept phone calls and other communication worldwide. If they got the key phone calls, future terrorism might be stopped, certainly curtailed. Bush summarized his strategy: 'Listen to every phone call and close them down and protect the innocents.'"

-- November, 2001 meeting between Bush and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, recounted in Bush at War, by Bob Woodward, published in 2002. Presumably, either Bush or Musharraf was Woodward's source. The surveillance program was already underway. (And note that the President said "every" phone call, not "non-domestic" phone calls.)

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