Oh heavens… Say it ain’t so… Not another lying Bush puppet?
In a new embarrassment for the Bush administration top spymaster, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell is withdrawing an assertion he made to Congress this week that a recently passed electronic-surveillance law helped U.S. authorities foil a major terror plot in Germany.
The temporary measure, signed into law by President Bush on Aug. 5, gave the U.S. intelligence community broad new powers to eavesdrop on telephone and e-mail communications overseas without seeking warrants from the surveillance court. The law expires in six months and is expected to be the subject of intense debate in the months ahead. On Monday, McConnell—questioned by Sen. Joe Lieberman—claimed the law, intended to remedy what the White House said was an intelligence gap, had helped to “facilitate” the arrest of three suspects believed to be planning massive car bombings against American targets in Germany. Other U.S. intelligence-community officials questioned the accuracy of McConnell’s testimony and urged his office to correct it. Four intelligence-community officials, who asked for anonymity discussing sensitive material, said the new law, dubbed the “Protect America Act,” played little if any role in the unraveling of the German plot. The U.S. military initially provided information that helped the Germans uncover the plot. But that exchange of information took place months before the new “Protect America” law was passed.
After questions about his testimony were raised, McConnell called Lieberman to clarify his statements to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, an official said. (A spokeswoman for Lieberman confirmed that McConnell called the senator Tuesday but could not immediately confirm what they spoke about.) Late Wednesday afternoon, McConnell issued a statement acknowleding that “information contributing to the recent arrests [in Germany] was not collected under authorities provided by the ‘Protect America Act’.”
But… But.. It sounded so good to say that new law shoved through by Congress last month was working. Didn’t it? But it really wasn’t working… That legislation forced through before Congress recessed. Nope. It was just a lie. Another “exaggerated claim” from BushCo…
The developments were cited by Democratic critics on Capitol Hill as the latest example of the Bush administration’s exaggerated claims—and contradictory statements—about ultrasecret surveillance activities. In the face of such complaints, the administration has consistently resisted any public disclosure about the details of the surveillance activities—even thought McConnell himself has openly talked about some aspects of them.