New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave an impressive performance this week, glorifying the unconstitutional NSA program collecting and recording every American’s digital communication.
Standing in front of flowing waters at the Portsmouth, N.H., shipyard, Christie strongly delivered a litany of lies:
Christie: “The vast majority of Americans are not worried about the government listening in on them.”
Reality: Nearly all polls reveal the vast majority of Americans believe the NSA program of spying on Americans goes too far. The majority of Americans in most polls say they want the collection of their personal and professional digital communications to stop.
Christie: “It hasn’t happened.”
Reality: Christie is pretending we don’t understand how the program works. The NSA records and collects all digital communication and stores the millions of gigabytes for future searches. He’s not fooling anyone by pretending NSA agents aren’t actually “listening” 24/7. This is Clinton-style weasel-wording.
Christie: “What happens if we don’t catch the bad people who want to harm our country? So here’s how we catch ’em. We need to toughen our terror mechanisms to do their job.”
Reality: The NSA program has caught no domestic terrorists. None. Nada.
Christie: “Over the last couple of years our allies including Great Britain, France, Canada and Australia have announced plans to toughen their laws to better detect terrorism and extremism.”
Reality: Christie is using the liberal reasoning that “everyone else is doing it, so we should, too.” This is the foot-stomping, childish logic used to argue for a failing government-controlled national health care policy.
Christie: “This is a big debate in congress right now and courts have expressed their views.”
Reality: True. The program has been ruled “unconstitutional” by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, who said the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of metadata – simply phone records of the time and numbers called without any disclosure of content – violates privacy rights.
Judge Leon famously declared, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”
Christie: “Right now that debate is dominated by intellectual purists worried about theoretical abuses that have not occurred.”
Reality: The NSA’s Inspector General was compelled by Republican Charles Grassley to admit numerous agents have been caught using the NSA surveillance tools to spy on their lovers and spouses. Some resigned, some were fired, others reprimanded and demoted.
These include cases of NSA employees actually listening to their paramours’ conversations in addition to listening to recordings and reading emails. Yes, they can be doing this right now with your communications.
Christie: “If you’re an ordinary, hardworking American, this law has no effect on you..”
Reality: Unless it does.
Christie: “It could prevent the next attack from taking place and killing our fellow citizens.”
Reality: Former NSA Director Keith Alexander admitted he lied when he said surveillance data collected by the NSA program provided the initial tips to “unravel the threat stream” of 53 plots.
When presented with studies that showed no plots were uncovered by the NSA program, Alexander mewled, maybe “one or two” plots were uncovered. No, none were. Not one, not two. None.
Researchers analyzed cases involving 225 people recruited by al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups and charged in the U.S. since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The majority of cases started with traditional techniques, such as use of “informants, tips from local communities, and targeted intelligence operations.”
Bulk collection of American communications has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism and only the most marginal of impacts on preventing terrorist-related activity, such as fundraising for a terrorist group,
Christie has succeeded in differentiating himself from House Republicans who have come to recognize the program’s unconstitutionality.
He now stands with Hillary, Mitch McConnell, and Obama.
Not good company.
This commentary appeared at CagleCartoons.com.