In warning against the consequences of letting surveillance authority lapse, President Bush has relied on the advice of non-partisan, career law enforcement and intelligence professionals. Are we to dismiss Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell as a partisan hack?
From Fox News Sunday, an interview of McConnell by Chris Wallace:
[WALLACE] House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says, “The president’s comments are wrong, divisive and nothing but fear-mongering.” Senator Ted Kennedy says, “The DNI’s,” that’s you, “The DNI’s latest comments show yet again the shamelessness of the administration’s tactics.”
Question: Is the White House making the situation sound worse than it really is?
MCCONNELL: Chris, President Bush is repeating advice that I’m giving him. As you know, I am not a political figure. I am a professional. I’ve been doing this for 40 years.
And our situation now, when the terrorist threat is increasing because they’ve achieved — Al Qaeda’s achieved de facto safe haven in the border area of Pakistan and Afghanistan — the threat is going up.
And therefore, we do not have the agility and the speed that we had before to be able to move and try to capture their communications to thwart their planning.
McConnell also stressed that the lapsed surveillance authority Saturday puts intelligence gathering at risk because there is currently no retroactive immunity for the telecommunications carriers.
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