January 24, 2006
This Nation has a long tradition of wartime enemy surveillanceÂ—a tradition that can be traced to George Washington, who made frequent and effective use of secret intelligence, including the interception of mail between the British and Americans.But here's exactly why a majority of the American people fully support the NSA's current surveillance program against Al Qaeda:
And for as long as electronic communications have existed, the United States has conducted surveillance of those communications during wartimeÂ—all without judicial warrant. In the Civil War, for example, telegraph wiretapping was common, and provided important intelligence for both sides. In World War I, President Wilson ordered the interception of all cable communications between the United States and Europe; he inferred the authority to do so from the Constitution and from a general congressional authorization to use military force that did not mention anything about such surveillance. So too in World War II; the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt authorized the interception of all communications traffic into and out of the United States. The terrorist surveillance program, of course, is far more focused, since it involves only the interception of international communications that are linked to al Qaeda or its allies.
The conflict against al Qaeda is, in fundamental respects, a war of information. We cannot build walls thick enough, fences high enough, or systems strong enough to keep our enemies out of our open and welcoming country. Instead, as the bipartisan 9/11 and WMD Commissions have urged, we must understand better who they are and what theyÂ’re doing Â– we have to collect more dots, if you will, before we can Â“connect the dots.Â” This program to surveil al Qaeda is a necessary weapon as we fight to detect and prevent another attack before it happens.Remember back during the 911 hearings when Democrats were shrieking about the administration's inability to "connect the dots"? The phrase "connect the dots" was like a mantra from the Left.
Well, that's what were doing. And it couldn't be simpler to understand. Which is why I hope Democrats keep attacking on this issue. And why I hope they keep screaming "impeachment". If a majority of Americans didn't support impeaching a President for lying about sex with an intern, they sure as heck aren't going to look kindly at a call for impeachment for protecting their lives. Bring it on, I say. The backlash will be so hard, LBJ will feel it.
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