I was afraid I’d read something like Margaret Talev’s piece reporting thinly-veiled gloating from the spooks today:
Widespread American sentiment in the hours after Wednesday’s killing spree at the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was all about solidarity with France in the face of Islamic terrorism. Now, a year and a half into the controversy over the National Security Agency’s classified data collection programs sparked by former contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks, some policy angling has also begun.
The NSA’s programs don’t “look all that scary this morning,” said Michael Hayden, a former director of the NSA and CIA, on MSNBC on Thursday. Saying the Snowden revelations had hurt intelligence cooperation between governments, Hayden said he hoped that “meaningful intelligence cooperation between like-minded democracies gets a boost from yesterday’s dangers and we go forward in a more cooperative fashion.”
His comments came as authorities combed intelligence collections for clues and terrorist links to the Paris suspects and experts acknowledged vulnerability to a similar attack in the U.S.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the French services pick up cell phones associated with the attack and ask the Americans, ‘Where have you seen these phones active globally?’” Hayden said.
So is that it? We care about civil liberties until the moment there’s a terrorist attack somewhere we care about, and then it’s back to Cheneyland? I seriously hope it is not that simple.