Administration Careful in Talking about Classified Ops

A page 3 story in today’s WaPo reports that the Bush Administration has answered questions about the covert intelligence operation reveleaded in the press months ago in such a way as to avoid hinting that there was a second, related covert operation ongoing.

[A]dministration officials have been punctilious in discussing the NSA program over the past five months, parsing their words with care and limiting comments to the portion of the program that had been confirmed by the president in December.

In doing so, the administration rarely offered any hint that a much broader operation, involving millions of domestic calls, was underway. Even yesterday — after days of congressional furor and extensive media reports — administration officials declined to confirm or deny the existence of the telephone-call program, in part because of court challenges that the government is attempting to derail.

Would we expect that any administration would, upon the illegal leak to the press about a highly sensitive intelligence program, decide it was time to reveal all of our classified ops in order to provide full disclosure? Regardless of one’s position on the utility or even legality of these programs, surely keeping them secret on operational grounds is reasonable.

FILED UNDER: General, Intelligence,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Neo says:

    Based on these two links, I’d say that the latest NSA program is quite legal, well at least if they buy them, like everybody else.

    http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-privacy05.html

    http://www.democrats.com/spy-on-them

    This issue is moot.

  2. Mike Thayer says:

    So if this info is commercially available, why is it spying if the govenment does it?

    The left just can’t help showing how nutty they are.

  3. legion says:

    Because we don’t elect corporations, Mike. Nor do they have any responsibility to protect us. Nor are we obligated to fund their existence out of our salaries.

    A corporation is answerable to its shareholders.
    A government is answerable to its citizens.
    These two groups are not equivalent.

  4. Roger says:

    We know you neocons want to replace the elected US govt. with a right-wing appointed corporate board, but that merger has not yet been finally approved by the shareholders.