Talking Point: Dems Knew and Approved

I was emailed by a reader who wrote: “About an hour ago on Fox News, some ‘media analyst’ claimed ‘the Senators who are up in arms’ about this program were actually briefed about the program before it started. Have you heard anything similar to this and do you know if anyone, especially US Senators, were actually briefed on this program either before it started or while it was ongoing over the past three years?”

Well, yes—I’ve heard something similar. The WaPo article to which I also linked below includes, in part, reaction from former senator and Senate intelligence committee chair Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who asserts that he recalls no discussion about

expanding [NSA eavesdropping] to include conversations of U.S. citizens or conversations that originated or ended in the United States" -- and no mention of the president's intent to bypass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

"I came out of the room with the full sense that we were dealing with a change in technology but not policy," Graham said…

Graham said the latest disclosures suggest that the president decided to go "beyond foreign communications to using this as a pretext for listening to U.S. citizens' communications. There was no discussion of anything like that in the meeting with Cheney."
In return, yet another in the endless stream of anonymous high-ranking intelligence officials, who “spoke with White House permission,” accused Graham of “misremembering the briefings” and

said they were intended "to make sure the Hill knows this program in its entirety, in order to never, ever be faced with the circumstance that someone says, 'I was briefed on this but I had no idea that -- ' and you can fill in the rest."

By Graham's account, the official said, "it appears that we held a briefing to say that nothing is different . . . . Why would we have a meeting in the vice president's office to talk about a change and then tell the members of Congress there is no change?"
Very clever. Except we all know that after Colonel Jessup ordered that Santiago wasn’t to be touched, Lieutenant Kendrick told Dawson and Downey in secret to give him the code red. Aaron Sorkin should totally sue.

Anyway, welcome to the new talking point. The Dems knew this was going on all along, so they can’t cry foul now. The White House is going to claim it briefed people fully, and those people are going to claim the abandonment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was never addressed. It appears to be a game of he said/he said at this point, and so I'm not about to make the call either way (irrespective of my suspicions).

I’m shocked—shocked!—that Fox would not have the same standards.

(Crossposted at Ezra's place.)

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