Dec 23 2005
Updates at the end
There are so many examples of the left’s self destruction on the NSA monitoring of Al Qaeda and Terrorist contacts in the US it simply boggles the mind so many people could have been swept up in the madness. Not most people (by a long shot). It is just the entire liberal segment of society. Apparently the 20% of the country that is dedicated liberal have succumbed to their frustration and anger and have fell into madness.
Being led all the way by the liberal media. The NY Times pointed the way towards the cliff, and today Dana Milbank of the Washington Post is guiding the way to the cliff’s edge. Check out the title of this piece and ponder how pathetic it is:
Bush’s Fumbles Spur New Talk of Oversight on Hill
Bush’s fumbles? The NY Times leaked a top secret and productive program which has detected and stopped terrorists from killing hundreds of innocent people – avoiding a second 9-11. The people get this and there is no fumble. Check out this post from Black Five:
Al-Qaeda declared war and attacked us on US and foreign soil, so any and all War Powers inherent, implied or contained in emanations of penumbras of the Constitution have been satisfied and are in full effect, in addition Congress gave the President direct Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Al-Qaeda as situations “render it both necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad”)
Al-Qaeda has proven that they can and will infiltrate the US for the purposes of terrorist killings to further their declared jihad. Any activity done to gain knowledge of enemy actions and intentions either in the US or worldwide should rightly be called enemy signal surveillance. This is consistent with the President’s role as Commander in Chief in the same way that an Infantry unit listens to enemy frequencies to determine their actions and intentions. Sleepers or contacts in the US represent enemy scouts or collaborators and consequently anything they do is a source of reasonable concern to us.
And this from the Washington Times:
Can Democratic presidents order wiretaps on U.S. soil without a court order, but not Republicans? We ask because that’s the standard critics appear to be using against President Bush over National Security Agency surveillance of al Qaeda operatives. Every president, Democrat or Republican, has exercised this authority since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act became law in October 1978. But it appears to be deemed problematical only for President Bush, whose wiretaps are said to have caught Iyman Faris, a naturalized U.S. citizen who wanted to bomb the Brooklyn Bridge.
This is all on the same subject. The latter two point out the full context of the debate and the implications of the program that is now compromised. The Washington Post has nothing but a fanciful title to a fictional news article (oxymoronic or just the new definition?). Let’s find out
After a series of embarrassing disclosures, Congress is reconsidering its relatively lenient oversight of the Bush administration.
Lawmakers have been caught by surprise by several recent reports, including the existence of secret U.S. prisons abroad, the CIA’s detention overseas of innocent foreign nationals, and, last week, the discovery that the military has been engaged in domestic spying. After five years in which the GOP-controlled House and Senate undertook few investigations into the administration’s activities, the legislative branch has begun to complain about being in the dark.
Dana is either a complete idiot for being in Washington DC for as long as he has been and missing what happened, or he is a pawn of the left. No matter. I added emphasis to note what should be obvious to anyone dealing with DC and the Congress. Secret programs are not exposed to all of Congress, because Congress leaks and ends up compromising the programs (like the ones listed in the Post). Congress does perform oversight through very restricted committees which are non partisan (they have equal membership from both parties). Dana should know this. Is he hiding the full truth from the Post readers?
And why would a Republican Congress instigate partisan Congressional hearings on a Republican President? What fantasy world is Milbank dreaming of? Probably this one.
And so it is not “despair” that we the American people feel, but disgust at bold-faced Bush lies again: “Some look at the challenges in Iraq, and conclude that the war is lost, and not worth another dime or another day. I don’t believe that. Our military commanders do not believe that. Our troops in the field, who bear the burden and make sacrifice, do not believe that America has lost.”
This is the kind of lie that comes from sheer stubbornness and an unwillingness to deal with reality. It’s delusional. Most notably, the highly decorated, former Marine officer, now Democratic congressman and one-time war hawk, John Murtha, in a speech to the House, called for a withdrawal of troops within six months. He said the unsayable: that the number of attacks in Iraq had increased from a 150 to more than 700 a week in the past year. That an estimated 50,000 American soldiers will suffer from what he called “battle fatigue.”
It is a quite humorous screed for impeachment. And it is quite delusional. But this is what the left is wishing for more than anything else! Payback for Clinton’s screw ups (and Clinton did screw up – he should have taken the job of President seriously).
But it is clear Milbank, and by extension the Washington Post for allowing this editorial to run as a news piece, are shilling for the DNC. They say so in the article
Democrats have long complained about a dearth of congressional investigations into Bush administration activities, but their criticism has been gaining validation from others after the botched response to Hurricane Katrina, problems in Iraq and ethical lapses.
Hurricane Katrina was the largest storm to hit the US in 100 years, very few died and the record shows a Governor who had no clue what to do in her role heading up the response effort. Iraq has been a huge success by any historical measure. Too bad our unsanctioned war in Bosnia did not go as well as Iraq did. That effort, run outside the auspices of the UN, has been a disaster for going on 10 years now. In a fraction of that time Iraq has established itself as a fledgling democracy.
The only ethical lapses are the fact that conservatives don’t buy liberal arguments anymore. That is a liberal’s definition of “ethical lapse”.
Let’s go back to Black Five to educate poor, naive Dana:
The press has branded this domestic spying as that sounds much more nefarious than enemy signal surveillance, and conjures the black helicopter images they are aiming for. The point least taken in this is that the targets are certainly legitimate and nothing will happen to anyone not aiding the jihadis. It is quite reasonable to assume that someone who had phone or other contact with a known terrorist might be an associate or have information we need. They did not take the registration list of MoveOn.org and start tapping phones, all the targets were identified as contacts of known jihadis. If the person identified happened to be innocently or incorrectly tagged, it’s not like they kept checking to see if they donated to F John Kerry. We have precious few folks to chase the real terrorists around, the foibles of the progressive circus don’t provide enough entertainment to overcome that.
Good point. Somehow Howard Dean’s crazy comments never really worried me. Al Qaeda planning something on schools, possibly my kidsâ€™ schools, worries me. But not Dean or Pelosi or Reid.
But maybe that is what sets the left apart from the right. The left fears the right more than terrorists because they are losing political clout day in and day out. It cannot be anything they themselves are doing because one consistency on the uber left is their fragile egos. So it must be the evil right destroying their world! And therefore they are the enemy.
The right is more concerned with terrorists than the Chicken Little cries from the liberals. Mainly because the left is the one doing more to push the right into power through their Bush Derangement Syndrome madness. Chicken Little cries cannot compete with proven success in the political world.
What Milbank wants is partisan war through congressional investigations. Well, we had plenty of that during Clinton and I think it is clear we the people (not we the liberals who hate Bush) see no reason to go back to those days.
What Bush has done is to challenge the Congress to turn off a program that catches contacts being made between known terrorists outside the US and people or organizations inside the US. These contacts could be innocent activities on the part of the US side. For example, consider booking airplane tickets, hotels, rental cars or getting directions and details on major tourist sites. The US contact in these cases is doing their job and unknowingly providing support to terrorist plans. The NSA can find out a lot from this kind of communication and determine where the terrorist is looking to attack.
The US contacts could also be much, much worse. They could be sympathizers or terrorists agents themselves. The phone and electronic messages could be the final stages of a new attack. So Bush’s challenge to Congress is more trap than fight.
Somehow, finding these communications troubles some people. Why? Because they are afraid someone may listen in on their phone or read their email? Talk about hyper sensitive. I know the left would rarely considering dying for their country, as many have to keep this country alive and safe. But is there no minimal sacrifice they can tolerate? If not, fine. I could care less. They will be seen as they are – unable to be bothered with protecting this country from attack. But whining about some minor inconveniences is not going to set the country against Bush.
Anyway, the left leaked and compromised a legal program to catch the next 9-11 before it happens. The legality of the NSA program is quite strong. It is has been around for a quarter of a century, under the auspices of Democrat Congresses for most of that time:
The ink on FISA was barely dry when the first president to order extrajudicial surveillance — a Democrat — did so. Jimmy Carter exercised his authority on May 23, 1979 with Executive Order #12139, seven months after signing FISA into law, declaring that “the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order,” subject to the section’s requirements. The order cites a FISA section helpfully titled “Electronic Surveillance Authorization Without Court Order.”
The precedent was even more firmly established by President Clinton. Top Clinton administration officials are on record defending the practice. As Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick testified before Congress in 1994: “The Department of Justice believes — and the case law supports — that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes and that the president may, as he has done, delegate this authority to the attorney general.” She remarked that: “It’s important to understand that the rules and methodology for criminal searches are inconsistent with the collection of foreign intelligence and would unduly frustrate the president in carrying out his foreign intelligence responsibilities.”
The authority is not disputed in case law. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review upheld it in November 2002, concluding that “We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power.” The FISC noted that “all the other courts to have decided the issue” agreed. Each “held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information.”
And now Bush has thrown down the guantlet to Congress to make the case against the program:
The Bush administration formally defended its domestic spying program in a letter to Congress late Thursday saying the nation’s security outweighs privacy concerns of individuals who are monitored. In a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate intelligence committees, the Justice Department said President Bush authorized electronic surveillance without first obtaining a warrant in an effort to thwart terrorist acts against the United States.
This is one area the Reps may let the Dems lead â€“ right over that cliff.
Mort Kondracke said it better and more succinct than I did!
By all means, Congress should hold hearings to determine whether President Bush had the authority to intercept communications involving terrorist suspects in the U.S.
And, if he didnâ€™t have the authority, Congress should give it to him â€” forthwith.
Ideally, Congress should tear down whatever barriers prevent the government from getting court warrants to tap terrorists. But, if it canâ€™t do that, it should authorize no-warrant intercepts, subject to eventual court review.
What newspapers and Bush critics are characterizing as â€œdomestic spyingâ€ conjures up images of J. Edgar Hoover tapping the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to get blackmail material or Richard Nixon ordering taps on Vietnam war dissenters.
So far as is known in discussion since The New York Times revealed the Bush wiretap policy, â€œdomesticâ€ refers strictly to the American end of international calls between suspected Al Qaeda operatives.
These are not people exercising First Amendment rights to protest U.S. policy in the Mideast. Al Qaeda leaders have openly declared intent to use nuclear and biological weapons to kill as many Americans as they possibly can.
Exactly. So which path will Democrats take? Kondracke’s or Milbanks?
How about Daschle’s path? Here is Daschle’s answer to finding who in the US is communicating with known Al Qaeda terrorists outside the US, not to mention where and why are they communicating:
I did not and never would have supported giving authority to the president for such wiretaps.
There you have it folks. Daschle believe’s once Al Qaeda operatives or supporters are in the US they can no longer be tracked down when in contact with their foreign terrorist handlers, coordinators or masterminds. The Taliban nutcase is can find protection in Daschle’s America.
Checkout Tom Maguires sane, logical take on all this. I do disagree that we should allow damaging leaks to save the good leaks. Damaging leaks can be dealt with and should be dealt with. And Mark Coffey also has some salient points on the matter.