NSA spokesmen told to just say "9/11" to deflect criticism

Al Jazeera used the Freedom of Information Act to get the NSA to disclose its talking points for public speaking events. The least surprising of these is the cheap invocation of 9/11 as an excuse for any wrongdoing, phrased thus: "I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent." It's the Giuliani Gambit, and it's as repellent as it is obvious.

Under the subheading “Sound Bites That Resonate,” the document suggests the statement “I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.”

NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander used a slightly different version of that statement when he testified before Congress on June 18 in defense of the agency’s surveillance programs.

Asked to comment on the document, NSA media representative Vanee M. Vines pointed Al Jazeera to Alexander’s congressional testimony on Tuesday, and said the agency had no further comment. In keeping with the themes listed in the talking points, the NSA head told legislators that “it is much more important for this country that we defend this nation and take the beatings than it is to give up a program that would result in this nation being attacked.”

Revealed: NSA pushed 9/11 as key 'sound bite' to justify surveillance [Jason Leopold/Al Jazeera America]

(via Reddit)

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