"This program has been an important part of that intelligence capability. And as I said, the tragedy is, now that it has become the subject of so much discussion in the press and in the public arena that there is a real danger here that we will lose our capabilities in this area and will not have the kind of intelligence going forward that we've had in the past that has made it possible for us to successfully defend the nation against terrorist attacks. It doesn't mean there won't be future attacks. There may well be." - V.P. Cheney on the NSA wiretappingThis is, quite frankly, despicable. All the evidence we have seen to date suggests the NSA program results in thousands of dead ends, signal noise if you will, that does not yield intelligence on terrorists. There is no indication that it has ever prevented a terrorist attack. And, as has been pointed out, it is ridiculous to assert that terrorists don't know the United States government has the capacity to spy on them.
Cheney also does not entertain the possibility that the public exposure of the NSA program is the fault of the administration for not acting in accordance with the FISA law; this is not surprising, as the modus operandi of this administration is to never take accountability. What he is doing is attempting to silence criticism and avoid defending a policy decision by denouncing critics for exposing the country to danger. That is a familiar and disturbing tactic.
"[V]oice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." - Nazi Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering