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Adam Schiff is a Democratic congressman from California.  He is a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee.  There have been several recent reports about his ostensible desire for changes in NSA surveillance programs.

But I think he just let the cat out of the bag.

I was just watching him being interviewed by Thomas Roberts on MSNBC, and he said something very close to this (I don't have a transcript):

We shouldn't be talking about NSA surveillance techniques while the nation is under the threat of terror.

That's it, that's the talking point, which is being parroted by almost all Democrats and Republicans.

Of course I might be wrong.  CNN.com at this moment has blaring red headlines about drone strikes killing more "Al Qaeda militants" in Yemen and Fears of Retaliation and Americans Being Evacuated!  If you keep goading like that, you might well provoke a counterattack.

I've been thinking for several days that this latest world-wide terror alert is cynically invented to distract attention from the revelations of Snowden and Greenwald.  It comes immediately on the heels of an actual bipartisan effort in the House of Representatives to rein in the NSA a little bit.  When I heard Schiff's direct claim above, I thought:  Bingo!

Who would invent, or trump up, such a thing?  I rather doubt the White House would be directly involved, but I won't speculate.

I make no claims of conspiracy or deceit.  I just want to express very strong doubts about the official line.

We keep seeing, over and over, that James Clapper has no compulsions about lying under oath to Congress, and Congress has no courage to discipline him.  Instead, almost all of them cowardly repeat the lies and distortions.  For example, the claim that "metadata" does not include "content" of audio recordings, etc.  There were at least two excellent diaries yesterday debunking that lie.

Other, more learned diaries have recently demonstrated no end of official lies about the surveillance regime.

So we know they lie.

Are they lying about this supposed mother of all terror alerts?

UPDATED:  TheMomCat found the video and embedded it in her 1:11 post below.  The statement that struck me is made by Schiff at about 5:30 into the video.  With respect to details of U.S. surveillance programs and techniques, he says:

"None of that should be discussed while there is an on-going threat to the country."
The context is whether the government has released too much information about the supposed contact from Al-Zawahiri to the Al Qaeda leader in Yemen.

I can understand how some people might think his statement is reasonable.  But I stand on everything in the diary.

Originally posted to Timaeus on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 08:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.

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