The timeless question: Are they knaves or fools?

On the latest re-release of the NSA telephone nodes and links analysis story. Shrinkwrapped expresses the real concern:

I am troubled by a pattern of exaggeration and vilification that almost seems orchestrated. It is as if there has been a persistent effort made, primarily by Democrats, to frame the debate in such a way that the worst possible explanation is suggested as the primary explanation. Furthermore, the language used explicitly clouds the issues in terms of the goal of the program, the technical aspects of the program, and the extent of the program. The impression is left, implicitly and often explicitly, that the Bush Administration is spying on Americans; they are going after reporters; they are labeling millions of Americans as suspects. It almost seems as if the complaints are arising from a different country in a different time period. Any day now we should start seeing stories about plumbers and enemies lists; this is disturbing.

Anyone who understands what the program involves would have a hard time reconciling the extreme reactions with the actual program. …

The thoughtless comments, and the damage to our national security, performed by these “servants of the people” are excellent exhibits for why such programs demand secrecy. Select Congressional leaders were in the loop on the programs, there was no warrant-less spying on random Americans (our intelligence people do not have the time or energy for such time wasters; they are trying to catch al Qaeda and friends before another atrocity takes place) and the misleading descriptions of the program made by such people makes the important debate about the risk-benefit analysis of such programs infinitely more difficult. The opportunistic, ignorant, or duplicitous comments about the program cast no glory on those who take part in such attempts to mislead the American people.

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