“What we were blamed for as an intelligence community is not connecting the dots. So we came up with a couple of programs. FISA is the key to connecting the dots,” Alexander said.
By shifting the focus away from the NSA’s potential abuses of the surveillance programs the question of whether the bulk collection of phone and Internet data is even necessary, Alexander is employing the time-honored strategy of answering the question he wanted to be asked rather than the one that was posed. He is changing the narrative.
No one disputes that the NSA, CIA, FBI and other agencies are working hard to defend the country and disrupt terrorism. That’s their job, and they’re good at it. Those agencies need tools to do the job, but the thing about tools is that each one is designed for a specific purpose. Start using one for a different job, and it’s not as effective, or worse, someone gets hurt. The old saying is that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That bit of wisdom isn’t limited to hand tools.