Chris Christie So Obsessed With Increasing Surveillance He Pretends He Was A Fed On 9/11 Even Though He Wasn't

from the the-lies-your-politicians-tell dept

Other than when News Corp. used copyright to takedown its own feed from last night’s GOP Presidential debates, there really wasn’t much that was Techdirt-related. The only other significant moment was a bit of a debate between Chris Christie and Rand Paul concerning the NSA and government surveillance. As we’ve discussed before, Christie is a big time surveillance state supporter. He’s argued that anyone opposed to NSA surveillance is guilty of “dangerous” thinking, has said that civil liberties worries about the NSA are “baloney” and has argued that Rand Paul is responsible for any future terrorist attacks, after Paul suggested that we shelve parts of the PATRIOT Act and obey the 4th Amendment.

The debate question focused specifically on Christie’s comments that Rand Paul should be forced to appear in hearings before Congress if there’s a future terrorist attack, to explain why he opposed greater surveillance. Reason summarized the back-and-forth:

?I will make no apologies ever for protecting the lives and the safety of the American people,? said Christie. ?We need to give more tools to our folks to be able to do that, not fewer, and then trust those people and oversee them to do it the right way. As president, that?s exactly what I will do.?

Paul shot back immediately.

?I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans,? said Paul. ?The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the Revolution over. John Adams said it was the spark that led to our War for Independence. I?m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights.?

Christie insisted that Paul had given a ?ridiculous? answer, since there is no way to tell the terrorists apart from the innocent American citizens. Paul responded that the way to discern the difference is to ask a judge for a warrant.

?I?m talking about searches, without warrants, indiscriminately of all American?s records, and that?s what I fought to end,? said Paul.

But there was one very odd moment at the very beginning, before the exchange above. Christie noted that he was appointed to his former job as a US Attorney on September 10th of 2001:

MEGYN KELLY: Do you really believe you can assign blame to Senator Paul just for opposing he bulk collection of people?s phone records in the event of a terrorist attack?

CHRISTIE: Yes, I do. And I?ll tell you why: because I?m the only person on this stage who?s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act, who has gone before the federal ? the Foreign Intelligence Service court, who has prosecuted and investigated and jailed terrorists in this country after September 11th.

I was appointed U.S. attorney by President Bush on September 10th, 2001, and the world changed enormously the next day, and that happened in my state.

This is not theoretical to me. I went to the funerals. We lost friends of ours in the Trade Center that day. My own wife was two blocks from the Trade Center that day, at her office, having gone through it that morning.

I found that interesting, because I didn’t know that. And perhaps the reason I didn’t know that is that it’s complete bullshit. As Marcy Wheeler points out on Emptywheel, Christie was actually nominated months later, with the announcement that he was going to be nominated released on December 7th, 2001

The President intends to nominate Christopher J. Christie to be United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Christie has been a partner with Dughi, Hewitt and Palatucci of Cranford, New Jersey since 1987. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Seton Hall University School of Law.

Christie took office in January 2002.

Also, it’s the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, not the Foreign Intelligence Service Court, as he says — but that’s the kind of thing that is probably a forgivable mistake in such a setting. But arguing that you were appointed months before you actually were seems like a pretty blatant lie and one you wouldn’t make without deliberately seeking to mislead people. As Wheeler also points out, Christie’s own official bio notes that he “was named U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey in 2002.”

Also, for all his talk about he went before the court whose name he couldn’t get right, that’s actually not how it works. US Attorneys don’t do that (others in the DOJ do it instead). Wheeler further points out that if what Christie implies is true, then he may have been making use of illegal wiretaps during his time on the job — so perhaps that’s why he doesn’t want more scrutiny of the program:

Christie implies he was involved in the dragnet in question. He was US Attorney from January 2002 to December 2008 ? so he in fact would have been in office during the two years when the phone dragnet worked through the Servic?um, Surveillance court, and four years of the Internet dragnet. But if, as he implies, he was involved in the dragnet for the entire span of his tenure ? and remember, there were huge cases run out of Trenton right out of 9/11 ? then he was also using the fruits of illegal wiretapping to do his job. Not Servic ? um, Surveillance court authorized dragnets and wiretaps, but also illegal wiretaps.

Which may explain why he?s so invested in rebutting any questions about the legitimacy of the program.

Remember, when people have actually looked more closely at Christie’s high profile cases, such as the Fort Dix Five, it was revealed as a totally bogus manufactured plot, in which it appears Christie pushed trumped up charges against a set of brothers who didn’t seem to have anything to do with a terrorist plot at all.

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Comments on “Chris Christie So Obsessed With Increasing Surveillance He Pretends He Was A Fed On 9/11 Even Though He Wasn't”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
David says:

Re: Re:

I actually fear it might have been an honest (as honest as it gets) mistake and he has deluded himself into believing this remarkable coincidence.

Being able to delude yourself in fabricated history is a core qualification for the president of the United States: only in that manner will he be able to stand behind his advisors with conviction and be ready at all times to be manipulated into doing what they consider in their best interest.

Bill Stewart says:

Re: Chris Christie nominated December 7th

December 7th, a “day that will live on in infamy”, is also Delaware Day, celebrating the day Delaware became the first state to sign the Constitution. As someone born in Delaware, I hereby apologize for Christie not learning about the Constitution when he was attending our state university.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

And this is how we ended up with extrajudicial detention and torture and arbitrary drone strikes, too.

I went to the funerals. We lost friends of ours in the Trade Center that day. My own wife was two blocks from the Trade Center that day, at her office, having gone through it that morning.

Translation: I had emotions and that gives me more authority to dictate policy.

Anonymous Coward says:

There should be a new rule for these televised debates. If anyone is caught in an ‘untruth’ or ‘mis-speaking’ they should have to read a correction out loud before the next debate begins. Even if they’re not in the next debate – they can record their correction.

Like newspapers publishing corrections.

GEMont (profile) says:

Con's Creedo: How easy it is, to fool those who want to be fooled.

I was appointed U.S. attorney by President Bush on September 10th, 2001, and the world changed enormously the next day, and that happened in my state.

Easily explained.

He was appointed secretly to the office because Bush needed someone he trusted in place for the coming fiasco, since a. Bush knew the attacks were to take place the next day, and b. because the newly secretly revised constitution allowed secret appointments for such things…. because terrorists.

Of course that would mean 9/11 was an inside job, but as everyone knows, billionaire industrialists and drug lords, and millionaire lawyers and politicians are too stupid and incompetent and clumsy to ever pull off anything like 9/11, because “too many people would know and it would be impossible to keep them all quiet.

Not to mention the well know and totally true fact that the American Public’s native forensic and criminal investigation prowess would easily and quickly see through any such attempt immediately, cuz you can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but there’s no way you can pull the wool over the eyes of America’s Joe Six-Pack. Not ever!

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