From Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee hearings on the NSA domestic spying issues:
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., Chairman: “Does the NSA have the ability to listen to Americans’ phone calls or read their emails under these two programs?”
NSA Director General Keith Alexander: “No, we do not have that authority.”
That’s right. Alexander not only didn’t answer the question that was asked: he answered a different one, with a “no,” that would make the casual listener believe that the answer to the question that was asked was also “no.”
Meanwhile, neither Rogers nor anyone else on the committee stopped him, corrected him or asked again whether he had the ability, not the authority, to “listen to Americans’ phone calls or read their emails under these two programs.”
I have the ability to throttle my neighbor to death with a bat, but not the authority. I have the ability to have wild tempestuous adulterous affairs, but not the authority.
The fact that the head of the NSA would pull a verbal sleight of hand like this before Congress is proof, in my mind, that transparency in this administration is neither its intent or manner. Its intent and manner is deception and obfuscation.
The fact that Congress, even when such a ploy is pulled before its eyes on national television, is either so complicit or so dim-witted that it doesn’t insist on candor on behalf of the American public it purports to represent is, one way or the other, disheartening and disgraceful.
Pointer: Shep Smith
Facts: International Business Times