This error about FISA wasn't a little trivial slip of the tongue, but rather a fact going to the very heart of the political debate over whether our pre-existing FISA regime sufficed to fight terrorism.
Think Progress » DNI McConnell: I Lied To The Senate Earlier this week, in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell claimed the new expansive FISA legislation passed by Congress prior to the August recess — the so-called Protect America Act — had helped to thwart a an alleged terror plot in Germany.
A government official later told the New York Times that McConnell was wrong, and that the intelligence had been collected under the old FISA law which required warrants. A chorus of House Democrats immediately raised concerns about McConnell’s claims.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) demanded McConnell back up his sworn statement. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) said the Protect America Act “played no role in uncovering the recent German terrorist plot.” House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes urge McConnell “to issue a public statement immediately” correcting his remarks.
In a statement released today, McConnell unapologetically acknowledged he lied to the Senate:
Either Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell lied to the Senate or he believed what he said when he said it.
So either we have a liar or a dunce running our national intelligence service. No wonder he fits in with Bush, Rove and Gonzales.