Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The unmitigated hypocrisy of the Mediacrats

Jed Babbin, writing at The American Spectator describes the legalese in language anyone (even Russ Feingold) should be able to understand.

...the FISA court issues warrants based on findings of probable cause, like other U.S. courts issuing criminal search warrants. There are too many situations -- like the one we were in before 9-11 -- in which too many possible terrorists are talking to each other and their helpers to sort them out one by one and get individual warrants. Which is why the law, and the regulations that implement it, allow the Attorney General to bypass the FISA court.

...Under Section 4 of USSID 18, communications which are known to be to or from U.S. persons can't be intentionally intercepted without: (a) the approval of the FISA court is obtained; OR (b) the approval of the Attorney General of the United States with respect to "communications to or from U.S. PERSONS outside the United States... USSID 18 goes on to allow NSA to gather intelligence about a U.S. person outside the United States even without Attorney General sanction in emergencies...

Oh, and that's right, the Attorney General did approve these international wiretaps. And, as President Bush explained, so did others:

The activities I authorized are reviewed approximately every 45 days. Each review is based on a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland... [Each] review includes approval by our nation's top legal officials, including the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President. I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups...

Thank you, Mr. President:

The Belmont Club also notes the ramifications of the glad-handing, serial leakers who used the Times the way Magic Johnson's Lakers used the Clippers:

...the fate of this particular operation was effectively decided -- not by the New York Times, it's fair to say -- but by whoever took it upon himself to leak it to them. The judgment on the wiretap's operational security had been handed down, as effectively as a unanimous decision from the Supreme Court. If your life had to depend on this operation's secrecy, then kiss your a... goodbye.

The Journal pays special tribute to the hypocrisy of the Mediacrats:

...Mr. Bush yesterday called [the Times' latest leak] "a shameful act." We won't second-guess the New York Times decision to publish. But everyone should note the irony that both the Times and Washington Post claimed to be outraged by, and demanded a special counsel to investigate, the leak of Valerie Plame's identity, which did zero national security damage.

By contrast, the Times' NSA leak last week, and an earlier leak in the Washington Post on "secret" prisons for al Qaeda detainees in Europe, are likely to do genuine harm by alerting terrorists to our defenses...

The NSA wiretap uproar is one of those episodes, alas far too common, that make us wonder if Washington is still a serious place. Too many in the media and on Capitol Hill have forgotten that terrorism in the age of WMD poses an existential threat to our free society. We're glad Mr. Bush and his team are forcefully defending their entirely legal and necessary authority to wiretap enemies seeking to kill innocent Americans.

Remember, until the Mediacrats take national security seriously, you and everyone you know should vote Republican.

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