On Fox Tuesday night, King slammed Obama’s “schizophrenic policy” of “on the one hand often going after al-Qaeda leaders or on the other hand telling the American people and the world that al-Qaeda has been defeated and that we can go back to a pre-9/11 situation.”
“It caused our allies to be concerned and it emboldens our enemies,” he added.
It has emboldened the proponents of the NSA’s data mining programs, which have been under attack by a core group of privacy advocates on Capitol Hill since the Edward Snowden leaks about PRISM.
“We know that al Qaeda and other people out there want to attack us and kill us and our allies. The good news is that we picked up intelligence. And that’s what we do. That’s what NSA does. NSA’s sole purpose is to get information intelligence to protect Americans from attack,” House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said Sunday.
“…And these people who work at NSA are hard-working people who follow the law. In fact, we have lost 20 members of the people working for NSA in Iraq and Afghanistan attempting to get information to help the troops,” he continued. “Now, this issue of metadata and that we’re violating the law is just not true. That’s absurd.”
Speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Phoenix yesterday, White House press secretary Jay Carney was challenged on the administration’s continuing assertion that the core of al-Qaeda is defeated when the intercepted call clearly shows that the core is expanding its reach through coordination with affiliates.
“There is no question that core al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been severely diminished, its leadership decimated, and there’s no question that it’s on the run. For many years now it has become — it has been less organized and less capable of directing attacks on the scale that it was able to do most notably on 9/11. And that remains the case,” Carney said.
Carney also maintained that Obama’s statements in May, particularly that “none of AQAP’s efforts approach the scale of 9/11,” were prescient and accurately reflect “what we’re seeing now.”
“And when it comes to al-Qaeda core, to the extent that they play a role, it is, in our view, inspirational,” he added.
The Associated Press — a target of Justice Department snooping for its May story about a thwarted AQAP plot that blew a hole in the Obama campaign’s narrative about a decimated al-Qaeda — freely countered Carney: “Far from being on the brink of collapse, Al Qaeda’s core leadership remains a potent threat – and one that experts say has encouraged the terror network’s spread into more countries today than it was operating in immediately after 9/11.”
King praised the fact that the administration responded to the latest threat, but also echoed concerns that in mapping out the scope of the threat for publicity points too many sensitive details were revealed.
“If I was giving out information, yes, too much has been given out. And if you notice myself and others we are careful to say that this intelligence, it’s credible intelligence and it gives specifics regarding a massive attack,” the congressman said on Fox.
“But this other information that you know, you have been talking about and has been in the media. That should never have been disclosed because that does talk about, if it’s true, it certainly — it tips off the enemy about our strategies, about our means and the abilities that we have to a sources and methods. And that’s wrong. That should not have happened,” King continued.
“There’s no need to go beyond saying we have very credible evidence of a very serious attack and it could be primarily in the Middle East but also other parts of the world.”