You're a major intelligence agency which has been caught systematically breaking the law and violating the privacy of foreign heads-of-state, foreign publics, and your own citizens. How do you explain it all? Hide behind the "threat" of terrorism, of course:
The National Security Agency advised its officials to cite the 9/11 attacks as justification for its mass surveillance activities, according to a master list of NSA talking points.
The document, obtained by Al Jazeera through a Freedom of Information Act request, contains talking points and suggested statements for NSA officials (PDF) responding to the fallout from media revelations that originated with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Invoking the events of 9/11 to justify the controversial NSA programs, which have caused major diplomatic fallout around the world, was the top item on the talking points that agency officials were encouraged to use.
Under the subheading “Sound Bites That Resonate,” the document suggests the statement “I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.”
You got that? If we don't let the spies do whatever they want to us, the nasty IslamoPiratePaedoTerrorists will get us! Its a cynical ploy. Sadly, Americans are now so conditioned to live in terror and jump at the merest "threat' that they'll probably get away with it.