It came to me like a flash. It's a deception of enormous quality. Perfect efficiency. A bureaucratic shuffling of meaning almost on par with the famous Catch-22.
Al Gonzales denied there was any dispute over the Terrorist Surveillance Program. Then James Comey came along and asserted there was a huge row over renewing the NSA's spying program. Robert Mueller and John Negroponte sided with Comey.
So how does Gonzales look Senators in the face and lie?
It takes the breath away. The Terrorist Surveillance Program, to Gonzales, is simply whatever warrantless spying that was not in dispute. As soon as some aspect of the program was in dispute, it ceased being part of the TSP.
Doesn't mean they stopped doing it, of course. The administration did what it wanted. It didn't have a name for anything that was not TSP. There was just TSP and non-TSP. What was TSP was whatever they wanted or needed to be TSP. Everything else was a program apart.
The key, of course, is to wrap the TSP's definition, the width and breadth of the spying, in a cloak of secrecy. Then you can sow confusion, appear to be lying, and have this elegant deception to explain it all away.
Now, if I just had Chuck Schumer's home phone. Not to explain the deception to him -- but to impress upon him the artistry of it.
Labels: Alberto Gonzales