Goldsmith on Lichtblau:
In The New Republic, Jack Goldsmith has a very interesting review of Eric Lichtblau's new book on his reporting about the Bush Administration's surveillance programs. A taste:
Lichtblau and his colleagues did not just report on the fact that the United States was aggressively tracking terrorists. They disclosed, much more damagingly, many operational details about how it did so. They reported not only the details of the SWIFT program, but also on data mining and pattern analysis of telephone and e-mail information, the government's listening in on purely international communications that "transit" through the United States, the close cooperation of private telecommunications firms in these efforts, and government analysis of ATM transactions, credit card purchases, wire payments, and more. I am not permitted to say which of those stories are true, but I can say that the true ones involved matters that were unknown to our enemies, and therefore gave the government a big advantage in tracking them. Their disclosure helped terrorists to avoid forms of communication that we were good at monitoring, and instead to switch to channels of communication in which we lack comparative advantage.
Hat tip: Instapundit.