Surprisingly, Russell Tice was not challenged about his credentials or the validity of his assertions.
A man claiming to be a former intelligence analyst has appeared on NBC News in the United States to claim that the NSA was directed by the Bush administration to eavesdrop on the domestic telephone conversations of American journalists.
Surprisingly, Russell Tice was not challenged about his credentials or the validity of his assertions by NBC, but he has been curiously reluctant to go into further detail or offer any substantiation for his allegations.
Whether Tice was genuinely an NSA analyst on not, his charges sound highly improbable and, of course, if even partly true, amount to a potentially very grave crisis within the U.S. intelligence community.
For NBC News to have aired Tice without checking on him is the height of irresponsibility, and there does not appear to be anybody in the community that gives him any credence whatever.
However, there are plenty of people on the lunatic left fringe who are willing to believe that the NSA routinely intercepted the communications of private citizens.
To be told that the Bush White House was also monitoring news organizations will simply confirm their prejudices, but the central improbability of such widespread law-breaking by a bureaucracy the size of the NSA will not occur to them.