How Long Will It Be Before 9/11 Is No Longer an Acceptable Reason for Unconstitutional Encroaches on Civil Liberties?

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Here’s a little nugget that hasn’t seemed to make a splash in the mainstream. I guess it isn’t really all that surprising given the extent to which 9/11 is used as an excuse for such a vast array of national security activities, but the New York Times still could’ve had an article on it …

Al Jazeera America obtained a master list of talking points for NSA officials to use in response to the Snowden leaks. The document––obtained through a FOIA request––pushed one item particularly hard, Al Jazeera reported yesterday:

“Invoking the events of 9/11 to justify the controversial NSA programs, which have caused major diplomatic fallout around the world, was the top item on the talking points that agency officials were encouraged to use.

Under the subheading “Sound Bites That Resonate,” the document suggests the statement ‘I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.'”

This, of course, was almost the exact language Gen. Alexander used in defending the programs in his second hearing before Congress:

“I would much rather be here today debating this point than trying to explain how we failed to prevent another 9/11.”

General Alexander also went on to tout the number––or one of the numbers in the general vicinity––that has pervaded the media without legitimacy since the leaks first emerged:

“In recent years these programs, together with other intelligence, have protected the U.S. and our allies from terrorist threats across the globe to include helping prevent … potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11.”

This statement was recently laid bare in its naked ridiculousness by ProPublica, but no one’s really seemed to notice…

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