Lawyers call it alternative pleading:
You say my dog bit you? Well…
- I don’t own a dog.
- And he doesn’t bite.
- And you kicked him first.
If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because you’ve been hearing it non-stop from Washington for the last week:
- There is no massive secret NSA surveillance program.
- And everyone has known all about it for years; it’s no big deal.
- And revealing it would be a major threat to national security.
See also cognitive dissonance.