After German authorities foiled a terror plot earlier this month, U.S. National Intelligence Director J. Michael McConnell was all to eager to give credit to recently revised FISA rules, arguing, in effect, that potential civil liberty violations helped save American lives. Woops. It turns out that much of the information used by the Germans was obtained under the old FISA law, which McConnell continues to claim wasn’t effective enough.
Needless to say, he was forced to clarify his testimony.
Los Angeles Times:
On Sept. 4, German authorities arrested three men on suspicion of plotting car bombings that could have killed hundreds of Americans, possibly at a U.S. air base in Germany or at nightclubs and other crowded locales.
“It was passed, as you well know, and we’re very pleased with that,” McConnell said of the law at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. “And we’re better-prepared now to continue our mission; specifically Germany, significant contributions.”
But the U.S. intercepts were given to the Germans over the last year or so, according to intelligence officials, which meant that many of them would have been obtained under an old version of FISA that McConnell and some other administration officials had said was inadequate.