Porter Goss's Assault on Common Sense

Senator Christopher Bond: "[T}he disclosure of the NSA terrorist surveillance program [has] caused our leaders in the field to question the support that they believe they once had in Washington. So my question to you, Mr. Director [Negrponte], and to Director Goss is: Do you agree with the assessment that I have picked up in the field?"

Porter Goss, CIA Director: "I'm sorry to tell you that the damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission. I use the words "very severe" intentionally. That is my belief and I think the evidence will show that.

"When I start talking about the disruption to our plans, things that we have under way that are being disrupted because of releases to the press or public discussion; when I talk about the risk to access, the sources or methods that are no longer viable or usable or less effective by a large degree; when I talk about the erosion of confidence in our working partners overseas, I'm stung to the quick when I get questions from my professional counterparts saying, 'Mr. Goss, can't you Americans keep a secret?'"

Senate Intelligence Committee Hearings on the Worldwide Terror Threat, February 2, 2006

Are people that dumb? Think about it for a minute. Exactly how was security compromised? Is Porter Goss saying that, before the New York Times story, the terrorists and their friends had no idea the U.S. government wiretaps people? Or that government can wiretap for three days without a search warrant? Or did the terrorists tell themselves, "I believe the government cannot show probable cause, so I won't worry about wiretaps, I'll just speak freely on the phone"?

Come on.