We’re doing the right thing; we’re not doing anything illegal,” said Four-Star General Keith Alexander to Fox News’ Bret Baier. An otherwise good reporter, Baier has been asking some poignant questions of the very clever, dissembling, outgoing director of the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional, naturally illicit and all-round reprehensible spying programs. However, Baier, another bright lad, seems to be merely going through the motion; making sure he does journalistic due diligence without any forceful follow-up. A less than obligatory follow-up would be: “I know that what you do is probably ‘legal,’ but is it ‘moral’?”
The occasion of the interview? Obama’s likely bogus “calls for an end to NSA’s bulk phone data collection.”
“What would you do to Edward Snowden if you were alone in a room with him” was more revealing of Baier’s sympathies. Alexander vaporized about the assorted entrapment operations to which hoovering up trillions of messages have led. (More about “The Dynamics of Entrapment.”)
BAIER: Former President Jimmy Carter saying he writes letters instead of sending e-mails because he’s worried that you’re listen — you’re reading his e-mails.
ALEXANDER: Well, we’re not. So he can now go back to writing e-mails. The reality is, we don’t do that. And if we did, it would be illegal and we’d be found, uh, I think accoun — held accountable and responsible. Look at all the folks that have looked at what we’re doing, from the president’s review group to Congress to the courts to the DNI, DOD, Justice. Everybody reviews what we do to see if anybody is doing anything illegal like you suggest. No one has found anything, zero, except for in 12 cases where people did that and we had already reported those.
* With apologies to pretty pigs.
UPDATE (3/26): The great Glenn Greenwald seems surprised that, much like Republicans, Democrats are opportunistic, lying, bottom-feeders. He notes that “what rational people do, by definition, is” this:
if a political official takes a position you agree with, then you support him, but when he does a 180-degree reversal and takes the exact position that you’ve been disagreeing with, then you oppose him. That’s just basic. Thus, those of us who originally defended Obama’s decision to release the photos turned into critics once he took the opposite position – the one we disagreed with all along – and announced that he would try to suppress the photos.
But that’s not what large numbers of Democrats did. Many of them first sided with Obama when his administration originally announced he’d release the photos. But then, with equal vigor, they also sided with Obama when – a mere two weeks later – he took the exact opposition position, the very anti-transparency view these Democrats had been attacking all along when voiced by Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney.
At least for me, back then, that was astonishing to watch. It’s one thing to strongly suspect that people are simply adopting whatever views their party’s leader takes. But this was like the perfect laboratory experiment to prove that: Obama literally took exact opposition positions in a heated debate within a three week period and many Democrats defended him when he was on one side of the debate and then again when he switched to the other side.
“The Leader is right when he does X, and he’s equally right when he does Not X. That’s the defining attribute of the mindset of a partisan hack, an authoritarian, and the standard MSNBC host. …”