"Definition: A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue."
Caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar, President Bush is working feverishly to divert attention from the fact that he has subverted the FISA law by claiming that the revelation in the New York Times of the NSA spying program has jeopardized national security and given the terrorists a hand. Sorry Mr. President that dog don't hunt.
The fact that the NSA has the ability to listen to electronic conversations, such as phone calls and emails, has been public knowledge since the 1970s. Al Qaeda has known this for more than ten years. The authors of the Al Qaeda training manual dealt specifically with the need to take precautions to prevent their conversations from being captured by U.S. listening posts. If we are dealing with terrorists who don't realize their conversations could be intercepted then we are after people who really must be living in a cave.
Could our National Security have been jeopardized? Yes, but only if the New York Times had divulged how the conversations were being intercepted. That knowledge would allow the targets of the intercepts to change their method of communicating. (In this case the President would be right to be upset.) But, that is not what happened. The Times did not reveal a methodology. The fact that the Government has the power to intercept conversations is why we have the FISA law in the first place. Telling the American people that the President is circumventing the law does not harm National Security in any fashion, but it could threaten George Bush's job security.
Let's be clear, Bush is upset because he has been discovered violating his oath of office. Instead of protecting the Constitution, he has authorized procedures that violate the Fourth Amendment ostensibly in the name of saving the nation. The inconsistency and hypocrisy of the Bush Administration on this issue is breathtaking. They only scream about damage to national security when it suits their purpose. They had no qualms about outing Valerie Plame or Mohammed Noor. [emphasis supplied -LRC]
Len on 01.03.06 @ 12:55 PM CST