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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Data mining

The New York Times tells us today that Gonzales may not have been lying when he split hairs about whether there had been a controversy over the "terrorist surveillance program" that Bush had admitted. According to the Times, leakers in the Administration told them that the controversy was over a separate (though closely related) data mining program.

Now, I'm sorry, but this doesn't make any sense at all. As far as I know, as distasteful as it may be, data mining isn't illegal. The program Bush admitted to was clearly illegal. So, I just can't believe that the controversy was over a program that, albeit distasteful, was completely legal and not over a program that was clearly illegal.

My guess is these "leakers" are actually working for the White House, trying to offer the press a plausible excuse for Gonzales. I'm sorry, but this one isn't even plausible.

Of course, I certainly wouldn't rule out the possibility that there was a component to the so-called "terrorist surveillance program" that went far beyond what the president has admitted -- for instance, tapping purely domestic calls for political purposes. That may have been the element of the program that caused the controversy (and may have been dropped), but clearly whatever caused the controversy was originally part of the same overall domestic spying program.

Update: I see from reading Talking Points Memo and other blogs that I'm not alone in this conclusion.

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