Each time we learn something new about spying on Americans by the Bush administration, we also learn that they lied — again. At this point we shouldn’t be surprised.
Reports Dan Eggen in today’s Washington Post:
When he was asked about the National Security Agency’s controversial domestic surveillance program last Monday, U.S. intelligence chief John D. Negroponte objected to the question and said the government was “absolutely not” monitoring domestic calls without warrants.
“I wouldn’t call it domestic spying,” he told reporters. “This is about international terrorism and telephone calls between people thought to be working for international terrorism and people here in the United States.”
Three days later, USA Today divulged details of the NSA’s effort to log a majority of the telephone calls made within the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — amassing the domestic call records of tens of millions of U.S. households and businesses in an attempt to sift them for clues about terrorist threats.
To many lawmakers and civil liberties advocates, the revelation seemed to fly in the face of months of public statements and assurances from President Bush and his aides, who repeatedly sought to characterize the NSA’s effort as a narrowly tailored “terrorist surveillance program” that had little impact on regular Americans.
But, as illustrated by Negroponte’s remarks last week, administration officials have been punctilious in discussing the NSA program over the past five months, parsing their words with care and limiting comments to the portion of the program that had been confirmed by the president in December.
In other words, they lie. They lie all the time. And they will continue to lie. Why? Because they can. Because no one will do anything about it. Because that’s all they know how to do.