In de VS is tumult ontstaan over het afluisteren van Amerikaanse burgers in het kader van de terrorismebestrijding. Het is onduidelijk of bepaalde zaken grondwettelijk zijn. Ook is er veel ruis ontstaan omdat het geheime afluisterprogramma nu in de openbaarheid is gekomen.
Alberto Gonzales (US Attorney General) is daarom uitgenodigd om te getuigen voor een senaatscommissie.
Dat leidt tot de volgende dialoog:
BIDEN: Thank you very much.
General, how has this revelation damaged the program?
I’m almost confused by it but, I mean, it seems to presuppose that these very sophisticated Al Qaida folks didn’t think we were intercepting their phone calls.
I mean, I’m a little confused. How did it damage this?
GONZALES: Well, Senator, I would first refer to the experts in the Intel Committee who are making that statement, first of all. I’m just the lawyer.
And so, when the director of the CIA says this should really damage our intel capabilities, I would defer to that statement. I think, based on my experience, it is true — you would assume that the enemy is presuming that we are engaged in some kind of surveillance.
But if they’re not reminded about it all the time in the newspapers and in stories, they sometimes forget.
Overigens beperkt het bespioneren van de eigen burgers zich waarschijnlijk niet tot alleen het afluisteren van de internationale telefoongesprekken. Ook de post wordt mogelijk geopend:
LEAHY: Did it authorize the opening of first-class mail of U.S. citizens? That you can answer yes or no.
GONZALES: There is all kinds of wild speculation about…
LEAHY: Did it authorize it?
SPECTER: Let him finish.
GONZALES: There is all kinds of wild speculation out there about what the president has authorized and what we’re actually doing. And I’m not going to get into a discussion, Senator, about…
LEAHY: Mr. Attorney General, you’re not answering my question. I’m not asking you what the president authorized.
Does this law — you’re the chief law enforcement officer of the country — does this law authorize the opening of first-class mail of U.S. citizens, yes or no, under your interpretation?
GONZALES: Senator, I think that, again, that is not what is going on here.
We’re only focused on international communications where one part of the communication is Al Qaida. That’s what this program is all about.