National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell revealed previously classified details of terrorist surveillance programs used to protect the homeland since 9/11.
Such surveillance has been blessed in the past by bipartisan Congressional committees, but was politicized after the New York Times revealed a series of counter-terror programs. Among the revelations:
* AT&T, Verizon and other telecommunications companies aided the surveillance programs and are now being sued for doing so.
* New FISA rulings took effect on May 31st, which require warrants to monitor communications between two foreigners if the conversation travels inside a U.S.-based network. Because millions of international calls transit the U.S. networks daily, this ruling has significantly degraded intelligence-gathering capabilities.
* A single FISA warrant requires 200 hours to assemble, which doesn't precisely fit the 'Internet speeds' at which modern communications operate.
* Fewer than 100 people inside the U.S. are monitored under FISA warrants; this doesn't strengthen the "Bush destroyed our civil rights" meme emanating from the left bank of American politics.
|Even as he shed new light on the classified operations, McConnell asserted that the current debate in Congress about whether to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act will cost American lives because of all the information it revealed to terrorists.|
"Part of this is a classified world. The fact that we're doing it this way means that some Americans are going to die," he said.
I'm sure we'll be hearing supportive statements for McConnell from the mainstream media and leading Democrats like Carl Levin, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi.
Or was that just faux concern for national security that Democrats expressed during their multi-year whinefest called Plamegate?