The New York Times editorial board betrays the weakness of its argument against the NSA’s data mining program by resorting to outright deception:
President Bush has insisted in the past that the government is monitoring only calls that begin or end overseas. But according to USA Today, it has actually been collecting information on purely domestic calls. One source told the paper that the program had produced “the largest database ever assembled in the world.”
There’s no contradiction here. Bush was referring to the terrorist surveillance program, in which the NSA monitored the content of certain communications. The USA Today report referred to something completely different – the collection of phone records for the puposes of pattern analysis.
The NYT’s formulation — “has insisted…, but… actually” — implies a contradiction where there is none. The use of such a dishonest tactic is evidence of a weak argument, and illustrates just how intellectually flabby the NYT editorial board has become.