January 11, 2006
Blow That Whistle, Beat That Drum!
One of the New York Times "official sources" on the NSA intercept story has outed himself in an ABC interview, turning out to be (as expected) a disgruntled employee of the National Security Agency -- currently an ex-employee, but evidently still working for the agency when he spoke to the Times more than a year ago, as he was not fired until May.
Russell Tice, a longtime insider at the National Security Agency, is now a whistleblower the agency would like to keep quiet....
But now, Tice tells ABC News that some of those secret "black world" operations run by the NSA were operated in ways that he believes violated the law. He is prepared to tell Congress all he knows about the alleged wrongdoing in these programs run by the Defense Department and the NSA in the post-9/11 efforts to go after terrorists.
ABC tries desperately to resurrect this dead horse for another trot around the track by making it appear as though Tice will testify that the intercept program was huge and indiscriminate:
President Bush has admitted that he gave orders that allowed the NSA to eavesdrop on a small number of Americans without the usual requisite warrants. [Tendentiousness alert! That the warrants were "requisite" is a fact to be proven -- not a stipulation. -- the Mgt.]
But Tice disagrees. He says the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions if the full range of secret NSA programs is used.
"That would mean for most Americans that if they conducted, or you know, placed an overseas communication, more than likely they were sucked into that vacuum," Tice said. [Emphasis added]
Sure, it "could be," if. But that's not the question, is it? The question is whether it was so huge and indiscriminate... not whether the NSA has the technological capability: recording every international conversation that used any of a list of key words is completely unworkable, since there are too many times that innocent conversations include those words, each of which must be analyzed... and because it's easy for spies and terrorists to use code words instead: "from now on, Achmed, when I say jack in the box, Junior Mints, or jellyfish, I really mean that other J-word."
So sure, the NSA could have ensnared millions indiscriminately to no avail, wasting the agency's own time and producing hundreds of thousands of hours of audiotape that not even the NSA has sufficient personnel to review. But did they? We certainly don't know from ABC.
Many commenters seem focused on the last paragraph of the article; and admittedly, it's a doozy that puts everything Tice says into a different context:
The NSA revoked Tice's security clearance in May of last year based on what it called psychological concerns and later dismissed him. Tice calls that bunk and says that's the way the NSA deals with troublemakers and whistleblowers. Today the NSA said it had "no information to provide."
They call me mad, mad I tell you!
If in fact it's true that Tice was having psychological problems, then it's hard to know how much of his accusation is accurate, and how much is, to put it bluntly, delusional or at least the result of a paranoid personality disorder, hence not reliable.
But the mere fact that Tice was discharged on the NSA equivalent of a "Section 8" is not proof that he is crazy, because that would happen in either case: whether he's paranoid, or whether they really are trying to silence a whistleblower. It's not dispositive.
Instead, I want to focus like a laser beam (as Bill Clinton used to say) on a different sentence, one that explains, all by itself, why this story, which the Democrats still cling to like a sick kitten to a warm brick, is the biggest possible loser for them politically:
[Tice] is prepared to tell Congress all he knows about the alleged wrongdoing in these programs run by the Defense Department and the NSA in the post-9/11 efforts to go after terrorists.
"The mentality was we need to get these guys, and we're going to do whatever it takes to get them," he said.
There it is on a nutshell: "We're going to do whatever it takes to get [the terrorists]." So long as that is how the NSA "scandal" is framed, it can only help the Republicans and President Bush; and the longer it runs, the more it helps the GOP and Bush.
It's my bet that Americans want us to do "whatever it takes to get them." And the fact that the Democrats, by and large, still haven't figured that out reconfirms every bad thing we've heard about the inability of Democrats and liberals to get serious about the war in Iraq, the war on jihadi terrorism, and national security in general.
They simply don't get it. Even now!
The Bush administration should adopt the Tice accusation as its mantra. Bush should say the following in his next speech, and every speech thereafter:
One of those who says he leaked the details of the al-Qaeda telephone intercept program, Russell Tice, made an accusation against this administration. He said, in an interview with ABC, that where we went wrong in our war against al-Qaeds was when we decided, and I quote, "we're going to do whatever it takes to get them."
My fellow Americans, to this charge, I plead guilty, guilty, guilty! Those who leaked this program were absolutely wrong to do what they did; they compromised national security because of personal objections to communications intercepts.
But if what bothered them was the idea that my administration was going to do, quote, "whatever it takes" to stop al-Qaeda and other terrorists who plan to attack America... then in that belief, they were absolutely right: we are -- and we will.
Now it's up to you: do you want a government full of people who will do whatever it takes to protect the American people from attack? Or do you want a government full of people who will stop short of that standard because they're more worried about the civil liberties of al-Qaeda spies inside the United States? In November of this year, you'll get your chance to answer that question.
The fact that the Democrats are still, to this very moment, licking their chops in anticipation of Congressional hearings on the NSA program and demanding to know where Judge Samuel Alito stands on this terrible "scandal" tells me that the penny still hasn't dropped... they still think they're going to win by pointing at Osama bin Laden and Musab Zarqawi and saying "those poor victims of American imperialism and tyranny!"
All right. Old saying: never interfere with your enemy when he's in the process of destroying himself. I'll just stand over here and hum.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 11, 2006, at the time of 1:30 PM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/400
The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist
They call me mad, mad I tell you!
Humble Low and Ignorant Insane swamp hermitme thinks that You understand my simple thoughts on insanity, sanity, and madness by now, so thusly will not go into it again.
Run a search on Tice, and you will end up with some NFL coach first. Then comes this Russell Tice.
Russell...we don't know each other, but i once thought about suing the City of Miami Police Department for not allowing me to have hair that wasn't even close to being as long as many Female Police Officers. i went to the ACLU about my case, and they laughed in my face...saying that i would have "to pay" them. So much for Civil Rights, i thought, so i quit soon after. Hey, i am White, a Male, and the ACLU wants to charge me if i want long-hair!?! If i had been a Black Male with an "Afro", or a Woman with long hair, then the ACLU would've taken my case...with no charge.
Russell...you are a fat White Boy who could not fight your way out of a wet paper bag, huh. i was a former Cop, and spent weeks trying to turn my self in for some 45 armed robberies, before Miami and Dade County figured it all out.
Russell...pray that You don't end up in Prison for *TREASON*. In Prison, they will look at You as a "Rat", then as a weak male. i hope that the Government pushes Your "Ratting" in this case, since You are a clearly a squealer of rat proportions with fine buttocks, and unable to protect Yourself. i would call you "Jane" (for Jane Russell), and Pimp you out to the other Inmates, who would be willing to pay dearly for you.
BTW, "Jane"...have you checked out the sales on James Risen's book yet? Pray that your weak pretty white-butt doesn't end up in some Prison.
The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist at January 11, 2006 4:51 PM
The following hissed in response by: RBMN
60 MINUTES Television Broadcast, February 27, 2000
ECHELON; WORLDWIDE CONVERSATIONS BEING RECEIVED BY THE ECHELON SYSTEM MAY FALL INTO THE WRONG HANDS AND INNOCENT PEOPLE MAY BE TAGGED AS SPIES
linked from: http://michellemalkin.com/archives/004110.htm
[February 27, 2000]
(Footage of Menwith Hill Station; aerial footage of NSA headquarters; supercomputers)
KROFT: (Voiceover) Inside each globe are huge dishes which intercept and download satellite communications from around the world. The information is then sent on to NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, where acres of supercomputers scan millions of transmissions word by word, looking for key phrases and, some say, specific voices that may be of major significance.
Mr. FROST: Everything is looked at. The entire take is looked at. And the computer sorts out what it is told to sort out, be it, say, by key words such as 'bomb' or 'terrorist' or 'blow up,' to telephone numbers or--or a person's name. And people are getting caught, and--and that's great.
(Footage of National Security Agency; Carlos the Jackal; two Libyans in court)
KROFT: (Voiceover) The National Security Agency won't talk about those successes or even confirm that a program called Echelon exists. But it's believed the international terrorist Carlos the Jackal was captured with the assistance of Echelon, and that it helped identify two Libyans the US believes blew up Pan-Am Flight 103.
Is it possible for people like you and I, innocent civilians, to be targeted by Echelon?
Mr. FROST: Not only possible, not only probable, but factual. While I was at CSE, a classic example: A lady had been to a school play the night before, and her son was in the school play and she thought he did a--a lousy job. Next morning, she was talking on the telephone to her friend, and she said to her friend something like this, 'Oh, Danny really bombed last night,' just like that. The computer spit that conversation out. The analyst that was looking at it was not too sure about what the conversation w--was referring to, so erring on the side of caution, he listed that lady and her phone number in the database as a possible terrorist.
KROFT: This is not urban legend you're talking about. This actually happened?
Mr. FROST: Factual. Absolutely fact. No legend here.
The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith
I've added a link to your post to my NSA "whistleblower" admits being al-NYT source post. They should bring back public hanging for this scum -- after a fair trial of course; always give 'em a fair trial, then hang 'em.
The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith at January 11, 2006 11:53 PM
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