Al Jazeera America has obtained a master list of National Security Agency talking points for defending the agency's domestic surveillance following the leaks by Edward Snowden. They were directed to use 9/11 as a talking point.
Obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the document states in a section entitled "Sound Bites That Resonates" that NSA defenders should mention "I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent." This talking point has long been the gold standard to justify programs ranging from the PATRIOT Act to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) body scanners to PRISM. This should come as no shock to those who closely follow homeland security debates here in the U.S.
NSA chief General Keith Alexander must have read the briefing closely, stating before Congress that “It is much more important for this country that we defend this nation and take the beatings than it is to give up a program that would result in this nation being attacked.” As a society that has grown increasingly weary of domestic surveillance, Americans cannot allow themselves to be bullied and scared into accepting a continuation of these policies.
As an event that so drastically shaped the lives of every American, 9/11 has constantly been used as an example of what can happen should the country not feebly accept the federal government spying on its emails, contact lists, and phone calls. Several groups and politicians are looking to "Restore the Fourth" Amendment and prevent domestic surveillance in light of the leaks provided by Edward Snowden. The NSA and its programs have never been more vulnerable to politicians and the people. The continual 9/11 political strategy will eventually run out of steam, and American may seeon decide the people have had their fears exploited for too long.
The internal document can be read in its entirety here.