In an interview with the El Paso Times last month, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell claimed that “Americans are going to die” because of the “public” debate on warrantless wiretapping. During his testimony today before the House Intelligence Committee, McConnell reiterated his morbid claim in an exchange with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA):
ESHOO: After the act passed, you claimed that because of the congressional and public debate over changes to FISA, quote, Some Americans are going to die.
MCCONNELL: Yes, ma’am, that’s right.
ESHOO: Do you really believe that because we have a public debate in the Congress of the United States about surveillance, about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that Americans are going to die?
MCCONNELL: Yes, ma’am, I do.
ESHOO: And did Americans…
MCCONNELL: They will.
ESHOO: … die because of our debate?
MCCONNELL: They will, and the reason is…
ESHOO: I think you need to explain that, not just to us, obviously. The cameras are up. That’s a heavy statement.
MCCONNELL: The intelligence business is conducted in secret. It’s conducted in secret for a reason.