From the Associate Press:
CIA nominee Gen. Michael Hayden insisted on Thursday that the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program was legal and that it was designed to ensnare terrorists — not spy on ordinary Americans.
Except, he’s not telling us everything . . .
He declined to openly discuss reports that the NSA was engaged in even broader surveillance, including a story in USA Today that the NSA has been secretly collecting phone-call records of tens of millions of U.S. citizens.
Under questioning from Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, Hayden said he would only talk about the part of the program the president had confirmed.
“Is that the whole program?” asked Levin.
“I’m not at liberty to talk about that in open session,” Hayden said.
So, the only legal spying is the one they’ve publicly admitted. If Bush said it’s not illegal, than Hayden says he agrees.
Except, of course, we can’t trust Bush and Co. to tell the truth and, well, the part of the “legal spying” that’s actually ILLEGAL. Unless Bush or Hayden tells us something new and really new-fangled about the way they ignored the laws requiring approval from the FISA court, then they BROKE THE LAW when it came to the laws requiring approval from the FISA court. The law said get approval from the FISA court. They didn’t. End of story.
Now, they’re doing it again with this massive database of our phone calls. They weren’t spying on average Americans, they emphatically said, except they were.
And, instead of dealing with it openly and explaining to the public what they’re doing and why they need to track the phone calls of journalists and their political enemies, they sow more seeds of discontent and paranoia through obfuscation and wordplay and give us nothing but bold face statements, exactly like the ones they gave us before that proved to be lies.
Hayden doesn’t know the 4th Amendment, even though he vehemently said he did.
So, why the hell should I think he knows when he’s breaking the law?
Is anyone at the hearings going to ask him that?
The Bush Administration’s goal is simple: never equivocate, state their reality (read: lie), over and over again, clearly and forcefully, to confuse the public and mix our concerns about illegal wiretaps and spying by law-breaking with our fears of terrorism. They believe that they create the reality. But, they don’t. They create cognitive dissonance.
Eventually, that cognitive dissonance grows louder in our brain, like a freight train you know is coming down the tunnel, and the boldness of their lies, the cacophony created when the hard truths of reality (like the deaths of so many in Iraq) crush up against their lies and half-truths, becomes so intense that we tune it out and resume gardening or watching the final episode of American Idol or getting to the Nth level of Super Mario Brothers. Mmmm, gold coins. Ding! Our overtaxed brains, in an effort to gain control of our hyperventilating and heart palpitations, intentionally forgets how painful it is when our government, the elected representatives who are supposed to be working on our behalf, consciously works to undermine our democracy and our lives.
And we feel peace in drivel. What lies? What corruption? I like the girl singer, because the guy with grey hair annoys me. What’s that? No, no ice cream for me, I’m sticking with Cheetos and beer.
And then, smugly, Bush and Co. chuckle at us and walk away and continue breaking the law, the next time with even greater impunity and arrogance, knowing that no matter what they do, no matter how heinous the crime, they’ll never be held accountable, simply because we can’t muster the energy and anger and combine it with the diligence to unravel their giant wet knot of lies and, finally, put an end to their disastrous plans.
Pray that the continually dropping approval ratings keep heading to zero and we truly see the public “throw the bums out.”
If we don’t, well, I don’t want to talk about that yet.
November can’t get here fast enough.
UPDATE: The DNC put out a great little summary of the lies Bush and Hayden are telling about their NSA spying programs.
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