NON-DENIAL DENIALS. "Bush Denies Massive Spying on U.S. Citizens" -- good headline. So maybe everyone in a tizzy about this morning's USA Today blockbuster is all worked up over nothing? Maybe the liberal media got it wrong again? But no. Bush didn't actually deny massive spying on U.S. citizens. He said the government isn't "mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans," but as the article goes on to note, he "did not directly address the collection of phone records."
Since the phone records is what's at issue here, he didn't deny anything. To be generous, I guess he was denying that collecting, storing, and analyzing all this information amounts to "mining or trolling" through people's "personal lives." This cavalier view of privacy comes, of course, from an administration that's been second to none in terms of desiring to keep its own dealings secret. One way or another, massive spying does, in fact, seem to be what's going on and the White House isn't really denying it. And, of course, each step of the way down surveillance road, it's consistently turned out that the administration had secretly rolled back privacy protections much more than it previously admitted. Realistically, whatever they turn out to be doing or not doing, they clearly don't think there's any legal, practical, or moral constraint on what they're allowed to do if they feel like it.