Guess what? The National Security Agency admits that “Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found.” The NSA has refused to provide specific numbers to quantify “very rare.” Shall we believe them? Let’s listen in on U.S. Military General Keith Alexander, the Director of the National Security Agency, for a little truthiness assessment:
“No one has willfully or knowingly disobeyed the law or tried to invade your civil liberties or privacy.” – NSA Director and U.S. Military General Keith Alexander, August 8
“What you’re hearing is, ‘Well they could…’ The fact is, they don’t. And if they did, our auditing tools would detect them and they would be held accountable…. We get all these allegations of what they could be doing. But when people check what the NSA is doing, they’ve found zero times that’s happened. And that’s no bullshit. Those are the facts.” – Keith Alexander, July 31
But lying about massive unconstitutional surveillance isn’t just a Keith Alexander problem. It’s a problem of untruths spoken by politicians who are in a position to know the truth.
“As I have said previously, the committee has never identified an instance in which the NSA has intentionally abused its authority to conduct surveillance for inappropriate purposes.” – Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, August 16
“The disclosed documents demonstrate that there was no intentional and willful violation of the law and that the NSA is not collecting the email and telephone traffic of all Americans.” – Republican House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers, August 16
“And if you look at the reports — even the disclosures that Mr. Snowden has put forward — all the stories that have been written, what you’re not reading about is the government actually abusing these programs and listening in on people’s phone calls or inappropriately reading people’s emails. What you’re hearing about is the prospect that these could be abused. Now, part of the reason they’re not abused is because these checks are in place, and those abuses would be against the law and would be against the orders of the FISC.” – Democratic President Barack Obama, August 8
Feinstein, Rogers and Obama — the three elected civilians in the United States who have the greatest, supposedly unhindered, access to classified surveillance reports and therefore should have known the truth — spoke untruths.
The question is this: did Feinstein, Rogers and Obama know the truth, and speak
unfortunate utterances contradictory declarations confabulations misleading statements lies to the American people?
Or did the U.S. military, of which the NSA is a branch, hide the truth from our nation’s elected civilian leaders?
Who’s culpable? Who’s in charge of our government? Either possibility provides unnerving answers to that question.
It’s time for an independent special prosecutor.