Culture Of Fear: NSA Document Advises Officials To Bring Up 9/11 Whenever Possible

World Trade Center Aftermath

Talking points given to National Security Agency officials in the wake of whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s leaks revealing the agency’s massive intrusion on American privacy prove that the NSA seeks to justify its continued Constitutional abuses by repeatedly bringing up the 9/11 terror attacks.

An NSA document obtained by Al-Jazeera through a Freedom of Information Act request contains talking points and statements suggested for use by NSA officials responding to public outrage over Snowden’s leaks.

Under the subheading “Sound Bites That Resonate” the NSA leadership advises employees to use the following statement when the agency’s methods are questioned: “I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.”

According to Al-Jazeera, NSA officials refused to comment on the finding. The news outlet reported:

Asked to comment on the document, NSA media representative Vanee M. Vines pointed Al Jazeera to [NSA Director Gen. Keith] Alexander’s congressional testimony on Tuesday, and said the agency had no further comment. In keeping with the themes listed in the talking points, the NSA head told legislators that “it is much more important for this country that we defend this nation and take the beatings than it is to give up a program that would result in this nation being attacked.”

NSA officials and other supporters of the spy agency have certainly taken the NSA talking points to heart, endlessly bringing up the terror attacks in recent months.

On Tuesday, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing about the leaks, the 9/11 attacks were mentioned 14 times by Alexander and other NSA officials. In one instance, Alexander said: “How did we end up here? 9/11 — 2,996 people were killed in 9/11.”

NSA apologist Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has also repeatedly invoked the 9/11 attacks in seeking to justify the continuance of the agency’s intrusive surveillance measures.

In an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, the Senator wrote: “In the summer of 2001, the CIA’s then-director, George Tenet, painted a dire picture for members of the Senate Intelligence Committee when he testified about the terrorist threat posed by al Qaeda. As Mr. Tenet later told the 9/11 Commission, ‘the system was blinking red’ and by late July of that year, it could not ‘get any worse.’”

And Representative Charles Ruppersberger (D-Md.) recently referred to clues the government had about a possible attack prior to 9/11, saying “these dots should have and likely could have been connected to prevent 9/11, and are necessary to prevent the next attack. ”

The “connect the dots” reference comes from a separate directive in the NSA’s list of talking points, which suggests that NSA officials tell critics: “After 9/11 it was determined the intelligence community failed to connect the dots.” And, “Some of those dots were in the United States. The intelligence community was not able to connect those ‘domestic dots’ — phone calls between operatives in the U.S. — and Al-Qa’ida terrorists overseas.”

The NSA also advised officials to use the word “lawful” as often as possible when discussing NSA surveillance programs, and to note that “our allies have benefited [from the programs] just as we have.”

With regard to answering questions about NSA abuses of civil liberties, officials are instructed to say that there have been no “willful violations” of Americans’ civil liberties.

It must have been that bit of advice that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was following when he lied to Congress during a hearing on March 12, when Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

Clapper replied, “No, sir… not wittingly.”

Clapper later said his answer was the “most truthful, or least untruthful” response he could come up with at the time.

Read the full NSA talking points here.

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • peter

    Can the self righteous General Keith Alexander give us some idea of how many attacks have been prevented by this ‘ program ‘ which he is so reluctant to give up? We already know how Clapper lied, now let’s hear the lies from this sanctimonious General. Anything is true if you believe it, especially if you prefabricate the untruth. In the eyes of the Government, any comment made about their misdeeds, irrationality or sheer arrogance can be deemed conspiratorial, which makes very many of us ” terrorists “. Unbelievable. That means that either the powers that be are very afraid, just keeping the public in eternal fear or just validating their reasons for more and more eternal war. Take your pick. These are all lousy reasons for their arrogant behaviour – Oh! I know, that is just makes them so exceptional.

  • USMCVeteran

    Will “officials” mention what happened to Building 7 as well?

    • dan

      …or the investgative section and records destroyed at the Pentagon
      that was tracking the misappropriation of trillions of dollars as stated by
      VP Cheney shortly before 9/11?

    • Motov

      And their records in that building that were destroyed?

  • dan

    …or the connection of the same owners and the insurance they collected both for 9/11 and the Kenyan Mall Massacre ?

  • Vigilant

    C’mon, progressives, let’s hear your diatribe against conservative fear mongering.

  • Wellarmed

    It sounds like building #7 was the tipping point for many of you. I know it was for me as well. Same with the FBI having the previous terrorist suspect in their custody (Boston Bombing) and not keeping tabs on him after letting him go. Russian Intel I am certain rarely works with the US government, so when they extended them an olive branch they should have grabbed it tightly.

    I believe that 9/11 was much like Pearl Harbor in the sense that the red flags were flying spectacularly before hand, but the attacks were allowed to proceed in order to accomplish certain objectives. Many of which I believe they (The Federal Government) have met or exceeded.

    The reason I go back to the Pearl Harbor attack is the parallels between then and 9/11. In the instance of Pearl Harbor the justification to let the attack proceed was twofold. 1 was to get the US people up in arms over a foreign enemy attack (nearly all states lost men, so the pain inflicted was universal), and 2 was not to let the Japanese Government know that the US Signal Intelligence Corp had broken their code.

    Keeping information such as this hidden for eternity is incredibly difficult, as a small minority of Americans generally do not tend to let these things rest if things smell fishy. Now that the vast majority of WW2 vets and their family members are dying off in significant numbers, do not be shocked to see more data regarding these events begin to appear in the public sphere.

    History always repeats itself, and if the American People can be conned once then surely they can be conned again. Think for a moment that if those in power during the attack on Pearl Harbor KNEW that this attack was imminent and let it proceed; then does anyone think that there would be any limitations on what the US government would do to incite war. Please remember folks that it was not only dragging the US into war, but also forcing the American People to surrender many of their God Given rights for the cause, much like what we are seeing now.

    I doubt that Clapper will ever loose one day of his pension let alone viewing the world from behind bars for lying to the American People under oath. The NSA spying on the American People does need to stop, and one hell of a lot persons who know they are violating US Citizens Rights to privacy need to be brought before a jury of their peers.

  • podunk1

    When we get tired of being lied to and plundered, we’ll start firing liars & sending traitors to prison and the gallows. NSA snooping is for black for blackmailing everybody and anybody who gets in the way of fundamental change. It reports to the executive office, which means ACORN INC. & Soros are running things.

  • Motov

    Sure every time they cite 9-11 as a means to justify their actions, I know it was an “Inside” job. It almost if they are saying “We can do what we want or you will pay the consequences!”