[Please kill me now.]
From today's press briefing (and, yes, it's unpatriotic to think of the old "Who's on First" routine while reading this):
Q Back to the NSA. The White House last night put out paper backing up its claims that this was a terrorist surveillance program, saying the charges of domestic spying -- you defined what "domestic" meant. Isn't one end of that phone call on domestic soil? Why is the charge of it being domestic spying so far off?
MR. McCLELLAN: For the same reasons that a phone call from someone inside the United States to someone outside the United States is not a domestic call. If you look at how that is billed on your phone records, it's billed as an international call, it is charged the international rate. And so that's the best way to sum that up. Because one communication within this surveillance has to be outside of the United States. That means it's an international communication, for the very reason I just said.
Q Right. But one of the people being eavesdropped on is on domestic soil.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think it leaves an inaccurate impression with the American people to say that this is domestic spying.
Q Why is that inaccurate?
MR. McCLELLAN: For the reasons that General Hayden has said, for the reasons that others have said within the administration, and for the example I just provided to you. You don't call a flight from New York to somewhere in Afghanistan, a domestic flight. It's called an international flight.
Q Right, but --
MR. McCLELLAN: This is international communications that are being monitored --
Q But whatever -- it's David's point, too -- I mean, whatever you call it in your trying to call it -- someone domestically --
MR. McCLELLAN: It's what it is.
Q -- is being spied on. Someone's communications --
MR. McCLELLAN: It is what it is.
Q -- on domestic soil are being tracked.
MR. McCLELLAN: If there is an al Qaeda person operating inside the United States and talking to someone outside the United States, you bet we want to know what they're saying.
Q An al Qaeda person inside the United States --
MR. McCLELLAN: Could be outside the United States talking to someone inside the United States, too.
Q But the person inside the United States, there has to be a reasonable basis that they are connected --
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, if some want to try to defend it and say that it is domestic spying, they're leaving the American people with an inaccurate impression, just like they would be if they called an international call a domestic call.
Q But, Scott, you're arguing that --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, you're arguing.
Q -- somebody on domestic soil is not being spied on?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I didn't say --
Q That's part of it.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I didn't say that at all. In fact, we have been very clear and precise in what we have said, to try to make sure it is accurately reflected to the American people. And I would hope that everybody would do their best to make sure that it is accurately reflected to the American people. I don't think it is when someone puts up on the screen "domestic spying." I think that leaves an inaccurate impression that this is spying on people that are talking about an upcoming PTA meeting within their hometown. And that's --
Q That raises a whole -- an issue, because it involves people on domestic soil.
MR. McCLELLAN: That's not what it is.
Q That's not why it's become an issue?
And, just in case you still don't GET IT, here's some handy definitions the White House has put out for us all:
DEFINITION: Domestic Vs. International.And, here is my handy-dandy definition for the day:
Domestic Calls are calls inside the United States. International Calls are calls either to or from the United States. Domestic Flights are flights from one American city to another. International Flights are flights to or from the United States. Domestic Mail consists of letters and packages sent within the United States. International Mail consists of letters and packages sent to or from the United States. Domestic Commerce involves business within the United States. International Commerce involves business between the United States and other countries. Domestic Idiot is someone who can not catch an International Terrorist after four and a half years.
UPDATE: Yes, I heard this story tonight on Countdown with Keith Olbermann