A man named Russell Tice has come out with, according to Keith Olbermann, “shattering” revelations about the spying performed by the NSA under the Bush Administration. Olbermann is having a really serious case of the vapors about this, and I don’t doubt that much of what Mr. Tice says is true. I’m not sure why Olbermann is quite so terrified, however, and if I’m going to try to prove this case in any kind of court I would want a far more credible witness than Russell Tice.
To begin with, Tice is the classic publicity hound. He makes a speech about how he volunteered his information to the Obama campaign, and rather petulantly observes that they did not “use him” for anything other than stuffing envelopes and such. He then goes on at some length about how he has written a “handwritten letter” to now-President Obama, stressing that it is handwritten because he knows that he is spied upon and wiretapped “24/7” by the NSA. Come on. He could still type a letter on his computer, print it without saving it to disk, and put it in the mail; but he stresses repeatedly that the letter needed to be “handwritten” due to all of the spying to which he was being subjected. He finally makes a speech that reeks of false modesty about having taken an oath to defend the constitution and “just doing his job, really.”
I have been on several juries, and if this guy was a witness for either side I would not believe a single word he said.
The accusations he makes are vague in the extreme, moreover, and the vast majority of what he has to say is hearsay and guesswork. Phrases like “Well the obvious use would be” and “I was told” and “it could happen that” abound in his testimony. I listened to this piece twice and virtually never does he testify to what he actually did or saw done first hand. Perhaps, as an insider, his suppositions bear more weight than those of someone not in the business, but they are still almost en their entirety nothing more than suppositions and guesses.
It may be that everything he and Keith Olbermann are accusing the NSA of doing are true, but a far, far better witness than Russell Tice is needed if any real conviction is to be obtained.