Washington Post: Official Line on NSA Programs ‘Erroneous or False’

by Jim Geraghty

The front page of the Washington Post declares: “the exposure of hundreds of pages of previously classified NSA documents indicate that public assertions about these programs by senior U.S. officials have also often been misleading, erroneous or simply false.”

Since those of us outside of government have no way to independently verify what we’re told about domestic surveillance programs, every lie makes it tougher to swallow that whole “trust me” line.

The article features a sample of some of that tough congressional oversight and scrutiny that we’re constantly hearing about:

Jane Harman, a former ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that speaking about secret programs can be a “minefield” for public officials.

“Are people deliberately misleading other people? I suppose it can happen,” Harman said in an interview. Facts can be obscured through “selective declassification that means you put out some pieces but not others,” she said. “But I assume most people are acting in good faith.”

Reassuring to know that the former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee recognizes that it is theoretically possible for espionage professionals to lie.

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