Brought to you by Patrick Brennan at The Corner, the Sunday morning shows had the usual parade of administration reps out there explaining why things aren’t anywhere near as craptastic as your lying eyes might lead you to believe. One of them was the Homeland Security chair, Mike Rogers, who sat down with Candy Crawley on CNN to discuss the latest round of NSA spying stories, particularly where it comes to our allies. The real problem, you see, is that these folks just don’t understand that we’re doing it for their own good.
This is the most frustrating thing about this, and I think it’s the most important thing to understand. So the kerfuffle with the French is the greatest example to me. There was one slide that the news media was provided, and those who were interpreting it to the news media saw that the word France was at the top of it and started a huge amount of discussion about Americans collecting phone calls in France with French citizens. That is 100% wrong, and that’s why this is so dangerous. That’s why when you you just go do a smash and grab and get a whole bunch of information, see the word France, they misinterpreted some of the acronyms at the bottom of the slide and saw this 70 million phone call figure. This was about a counter-terrorism program that had nothing to do with French citizens…
That’s just wrong. And now you’ve created an international incident on something that’s absolutely wrong and incorrect. That’s why need to be very careful as we move forward in this debate and this discussion.
Well, fair enough I suppose. I don’t think we’re expecting the likes of Snowden and Greenwald to grasp all the nuances of the filched material. But that’s also a bit like the manager of Ford’s Theatre strenuously explaining that the first act of the play was produced perfectly until some jerk shot Lincoln. Other pressing questions, such as tapping the German Chancellor’s cell phone are still sitting out on the table and thus far, nobody from the administration seems to have much to say.
Perhaps it’s time to just say what I think most people were aware of – for the most part, anyway – and come clean. Personally, I’m a complete hypocrite on this subject and I’m fine with that. I don’t want any of our alleged allies spying on us, and when we catch them at it there need to be repercussions. By contrast, we need to stay on top of world affairs, so we may need to gather intel from any number of sources, including our friends. I just expect us to be better at it (read: less likely to get caught) and not go bragging about it. And if we do get caught, you mumble a few explanations and get on with your life.
Is that so hard?