Rep. Mike Rogers Goes On National TV To Lie About NSA Programs And Snowden
from the aren't-journalists-supposed-to-call-out-these-things? dept
Number 1 NSA fan (and, laughingly, the guy supposedly in charge of oversight), Rep. Mike Rogers went on George Stephanopoulos’ show this weekend to talk about the latest NSA goings-on and as far as I can tell, he appeared to be allergic to the truth, because there’s an awful lot of things he said that are simply, factually, bullshit. Let’s take a few examples, starting with the big one about Ed Snowden:
Rogers: Here’s where I think he’s crossed the line now, George, he has contacted a foreign country and said, ‘I will sell you classified information for something of value.’ That’s what we call a traitor in this country.
Stephanopoulos: You’re talking about his open letter to Brazil?
Rogers: Absolutely! He has traded something of value for his own personal gain that jeopardizes the national security of the United States. We call that treason. And I think that letter, very clearly, lays out who this gentlemen is and what his intentions were. Clearly.
What he’s referring to is the open letter Snowden sent to the people of Brazil, which we posted recently. Nowhere in there does Snowden do anything that Rogers says above. He does not offer to sell anything. He does not request anything. He does not offer them classified information. In fact, he does the opposite. He offers an unconditional promise to help politicians there with their investigation, if they want, but clearly stated he would only do so “wherever appropriate and lawful.” And at no point did he request anything in return, let alone something of value.
Why would Rep. Mike Rogers go on TV and directly lie about Ed Snowden to claim he was a traitor? Does Mike Rogers think so little of the American public that he believes they won’t actually read what Snowden wrote and realize that Rogers is flat out lying? He claims that the letter shows what Snowden’s intentions are, and I agree. They’re the exact opposite of what Rogers claims on TV.
Elsewhere, when asked about last week’s task force report that proposes some pretty big changes, while calling out the NSA’s programs for going too far, Rogers lies again.
Perspective is important here. If you think about where we are and what the panel did — which was dominated by law professors — they basically said that the information is important, but where we keep it may be up for debate. So that’s a very important milestone for those who said ‘oh, this is devastating to the NSA.’ I disagree. What they said was ‘this information is a vital part of our counterterrorism effort, to keep Americans safe.'”
This is also a lie. The report repeatedly notes that the Section 215 program did not appear to be useful or effective. And, the members of the panel have been speaking out about how shocked they were that the NSA couldn’t even come up with a remotely defensible excuse for the program. Richard Clarke — who is not a “law professor” as Rogers implies, but rather the former anti-terrorism czar for multiple presidents — went on On the Media last week to point out that what stunned him was that the NSA couldn’t show the panel a single example where the program was necessary. Clarke notes that they were able to go through all of the data related to this program and “we came to the conclusion it was not necessary in any case where it was used.”
Again, Rogers is flat out lying to the public over very factual information.
Next up, he’s asked about the ruling by Judge Leon that the program is unconstitutional, Rogers went on the attack.
16 federal judges, 36 different opinions have all had a different opinion…. And these are business records, not your personal records. That’s very, very different. There have been hundreds of appellate decisions reaffirming the government’s right to get business records in the course of a terror investigation or determining if a terrorist overseas is calling into the United States. So this is one case, when you have a huge volume…. Yes, this one district judge that doesn’t handle national security cases had a difference of opinion. That’s our good system. But he set aside his own decision, as he said ‘likely to be overturned’ because of the sheer volume of federal judges who have already reviewed this… and reaffirmed that this program is legal. It does meet the constitutional test…
Also, almost entirely untrue. Yes, courts have said that business records can be collected without a warrant, but the courts meant it within the context of Maryland v. Smith, involving a single bit of information about a specific person. Not the bulk collection of data on everyone. Judge Leon clearly made the distinction, which Rogers ignores and misrepresents. And, yes, while the FISA Court has approved the program repeatedly, it’s in a non-adversarial process in which no one has presented the other side. Now that that’s finally happening, the judge has rejected it.
Honestly, it’s difficult to find anything that Rep. Rogers spoke accurately about in this appearance. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, not once did Stephanopoulos push back on anything Rogers said. Because that’s DC “journalism” where the “press” just let the politicians lie to the American public, because that’s what they do.