December 20, 2005
1) The Pajamahedeen are all over this, debunking claims that spying on domestic terrorists is illegal or unconstitutional. There is plenty of legal precedent to show that it is legal and constitutional. Those trying to prove otherwise don't have a leg to stand on. This is another one of those baseless charges that will blow up in the Democrats' faces.
2) The vast majority of the American people are smart enough to understand that it's been exactly this kind of surveillance that has broken up terror cells in the United States and prevented another major attack. They're all for it. And any politician who comes out against it communicates that they're more concerned about the civil rights of terrorists than the safety of the American people. Keep going, guys. You're only hurting yourselves.
Take the very real example of the Brooklyn Bridge incident, as explained by Dick Morris in his column today:
In 2002, the feds (presumably the NSA) picked up random cellphone chatter using the words "Brooklyn Bridge" (which apparently didn't translate well into Arabic). They notified the New York Police Department, which flooded the bridge with cops. Then the feds overheard a phone call in which a man said things were "too hot" on the bridge to pull off an operation. Later, an interrogation of a terrorist allowed by the Patriot Act led cops to the doorstep of this would-be bridge bomber. (His plans would definitely have brought down the bridge, NYPD sources told me.)
Why didn't Bush get a warrant? On who? For what? The NSA wasn't looking for a man who might blow up the bridge. It had no idea what it was looking for. It just intercepted random phone calls from people in the United States to those outside Â— and so heard the allusions to the bridge that tipped them off.
In criminal investigations, one can target a suspect and get a warrant to investigate him. But this deductive approach is a limited instrument in fighting terror. An inductive approach, in which one gathers a mass of evidence and looks for patterns, is far more useful.
John McIntyre's take on the situation sums it up pretty well:
If Democrats want to make this spying Â“outrageÂ” a page one story they are fools walking right into a trap. Now that this story is out and the security damage is already done, letÂ’s have a full investigation into exactly who the President spied on and why. LetÂ’s also find out who leaked this highly classified information and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. If the president is found to have broken the law and spied on political opponents or average Americans who had nothing to do with terrorism, then Bush should be impeached and convicted.
But unlike Senator Levin, who claimed on Meet The Press yesterday not to know what the PresidentÂ’s motives were when he authorized these eavesdropping measures, I have no doubt that the PresidentÂ’s use of this extraordinary authority was solely an attempt to deter terrorist attacks on Americans and our allies. Let the facts and the truth come out, but the White HouseÂ’s initial response is a pretty powerful signal that they arenÂ’t afraid of where this is heading.
The Liberal side of the blogosphere is in a frenzy over this. Still smarting over the Fitzmas flop, they are hoping like hell that they can push yet another conspiracy theory to damage the President. And they're pushing even harder now that his poll numbers have been rebounding. And the Democrats are following their lead at their own peril.
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