The investigation and defense of Alberto Gonzales is resulting in still more disclosure (albeit drip by drip) about the details of the scope of the Terrorist Surveillance Program and the NSA Call Records program and related post-9/11 intelligence activities. Yesterday the Direct of National Intelligence Michael McConnell sent a letter to Senator Leahy clarifying the following:
1. There were several different programs, of which the disclosed TSP was only one. The rest remain classified.
2. All of the different programs were authorized and reauthorized by the President in a single executive order. The order was reauthorized every 45 days. The precise scope of the combined program changed over time.
3. The phrase “Terrorist Surveillance Program” was made up in 2006 after that part of the program was disclosed (which was pretty obvious — it’s a public relations label, not one that would be used for the intel community). The label was designed to be used only to refer to the disclosed part of the overall program, not the overall program.
Ths Washington Post’s coverage of the letter is here.