ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Frustrations of a Blogger

Having to hear in the MSM and the lefty blogosphere spin and distort the issue of NSA intercepts is very frustrating for those of us in the blogosphere. In almost all instances, the MSM and the Left are portraying the NSA to be targeting "Americans." As Dick Cheney pointed out in the following conversation with the press, nothing could be further from the truth:

Q Do you not understand, though, that some Americans are concerned to hear that their government is eavesdropping on these private conversations?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: What private conversations?

Q The private conversations between Americans and people overseas.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Which people overseas?

Q You tell me.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's important that you be clear that we're talking about individuals who are al Qaeda or have an association with al Qaeda, who we have reason to believe are part of that terrorist network. There are two requirements, and that's one of them. It's not just random conversations. If you're calling Aunt Sadie in Paris, we're probably not really interested.
and as Cliff May subsequently points out:
If an al-Qaeda operative in Karachi phones someone in Paris, France and tells him to go to the US to carry out an act of terrorism – obviously the President would have the authority to listen to that conversation without a warrant.

But if an al-Qaeda operative in Karachi phones someone in Paris, Texas and tells him to go to Houston to carry out an act of terrorism -- the President would not have that authority to listen to that conversation without a warrant?

In other words, once a terrorist lands on American soil he must be given additional rights, including an expectation of privacy when he gets a phone call from Osama bin Laden.

That's what the administration’s critics are arguing.

But, don't try and explain that to the DUers. They've all signed up to the theory that the NSA is watching your every move and tracking every FedEx and UPS delivery.

So, the most frustrating thing about being a blogger is that you find out that you know more about the facts than the MSM is presenting in the news.

In addition, the other frustrating part is the ridiculous charge that the NSA intercepts of communications by foreign terrorists (to other foreigners or to people here in the US) is "illegal" or unconstitutional. I think it's been pretty clearly demonstrated by Jeff Goldstein at ProteinWisdom (here, here, here, and here) and John Hinderaker at Powerline that these intercepts are neither illegal nor unconstitutional.

As I've stated in the comments to this post, if more oversight is required - fine. Let's give Congress some additional capability to have oversight into these activities - but not at the expense of speed and flexibility. As the editors at National Review pointed out, "the position of Bush's critics is that he can launch a Hellfire missile at an al Qaeda operative in Pakistan or Yemen, but can't listen to that operative's telephone conversations. Absurd."

Now, if you're a Lefty and wish to argue these points, fine... please read the research done by Hinderaker and Goldstein and then let's discuss. But it's extremely weak for you to simply throw at that King Bushitler has stolen our civil liberties and you won't even consider the possibility that the NYTimes and the MSM is trying to distort the activities of the NSA to fit to your preconceptions of Bushco.

As I've pointed out here, we are very clearly at war - although many refuse to accept that fact. I realize that many of you don't think it's an actual war and it would be better for us to return to the 90s when we were fat, dumb, and happy (except for the occassional terrorist attack), but that is not our future. Yes, the Spanish and the French have an occassional terrorist act and they don't seem to mind. Well, that's because they're French and Spanish - and they look to us to take down the bad guys. And while some might think it'd be great to be French and surrender to anyone with a sharp implement or a petrol bomb and a desire to torch some cars, there's nothing cool about being unable to defend yourself. And for all of the terrorist attacks that they've suffered, their enemies have not been able to land a decisive blow like we received on 9/11.

Or perhaps you've forgotten.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (3)
Stupid Country said...

Well, I'm flattered by the reference, but actually my calling attention to the French (and Spanish) reponse to terrorism was intended to recognize its effectiveness.

The French in particular have a long history of dealing with terrorism, domestic and more recently international, and have evolved highly effective ways to deal with it (relative to our own) -- so much so that they have been able to assist other countries in profiling and identifying terrorist tactics and cells, including the United States as in the case of Ahmed Ressam in 1999.

More to the point, the French have distinquished themselves, especially in contrast to the British, in their toughness and relentlessness in dealing with terrorist organizations, and their willingness to share information with other countries' intelligence services, including those in the US.

What I really meant to point out, though, is that French and others in Europe have managed to deal with frequent terrorism within their own borders without retreating from their basically democratic cultures, without rewriting the contract between government and the governed as the Bush Administration seems to want us to accept. They just go on being who they are, uncowed by the reality that terror will find them from time to time. What I keep asking is, why can't Americans find the courage to respond to occasional terrorism, as New York's Mayor Rudy Giuliani suggested after 9-11, by getting on with our lives?

Sure -- I'll defend the French way anywhere and any time.


St Wendeler said...

The NSA's surveillance of Al Qaeda communications abroad, which might include other foreign locations or (egads!) a terrorist agent here in the US, is not surrending your civil liberties at all. Nor is it illegal... nor is it unconstitutional.

Wishing it were so does not make it so.

Yes, the French did a great job in handling the Algerian terrorists. Unfortunately for them, the Algerian radicals are now in Paris, burning cars at alarming rates (even before the recent spike). The solution to the problem (for the French)? payola.

Do you have any doubts whether the French intelligence agency (assuming they have an organization as sophisticated as our NSA) would surveil similar communications between Islamic radicals (affiliated with AIG or Al Qaeda) and their agents in France?

This is not a winning argument for the Dems. The MSM's willingness to push the story is only blinding you to the harm that you're doing to your party and our national security. Failing to use these legal and consitutional surveillance techniques (and even publicizing them) will likely result in another terrorist attack.

But that is of no concern to you, of course... We live in a Stupid Country after all...

Stupid Country said...

I don't speak for "Dems," or anyone else really. Just myself.

This tendency to lump people into dismissable categories like "Democrats," "liberals" and whatnot is one of the flaws of online political discussion. Left and Right are equally guilty of this. And of course the idiocy of it is magnified a hundredfold on talk radio and on Fox.

Let's not do that, ok?