Take the December 22 episode of NBC‘s Meet the Press. Viewers heard Republican politician and ardent NSA defender Peter King claim that if the NSA had phone metadata program in 2001, the 9/11 attacks “probably wouldn’t have happened.” That’s a remarkably provocative claim; is it true? One wouldn’t have known from watching the show, but ProPublica‘s Justin Elliot has looked into this (6/20/13) and finds no evidence for such an assertion
New York Times columnist David Brooks was on the Meet the Press panel to say that there’s probably a need to rein in some of the NSA’s activities. But he made clear that this should not “legitimize” whistleblower Edward Snowden, who Brooks derides as a “narcissist”– a familiar media smear against Snowden.
But then, later on in the show came this from host Gregory:
I should mention… my wife who is in law enforcement who you know well, said the fact that it is so broad, that this bulk collection is so broad, is what makes it safer. Because the government is not concerned about who is looking at what website. They are really just collecting data to be able to protect the country.
So the mass collection of everyone’s phone metadata is actually a good thing. because the government is grabbing everything in order to protect us. At least, that’s what Gregory’s high level source tells him.