Tied Up In Wiretaps

The Democrats have once again gone apoplectic over the issue of wiretaps conducted against American citizens suspected in terrorism cases. I have a feeling this argument is another Democratic smear job that will end up backfiring on them once again. First of all, the Democrats pounced on Bush for not “putting the pieces together” before 9/11. However, in order to put the pieces together, we need actionable intelligence. That require us to have a system to gather that intelligence.

Secondly, the Democrats have no leg to stand on. They were fully briefed on the program and signed off on it themselves. All this outrage over a program that they knew existed? The American people aren’t that stupid.

Third, whoever leaked this information deserves to be jailed. If we’re going to take leaks seriously, that can’t just apply to leakers that might embarrass the Bush Administration. But my guess is that we won’t be hearing any hysterical shouts of “treason” from the Usual Suspects over this case – just as we didn’t hear a peep about the unmasking of the CIA’s programs for dealing with high-level al-Qaeda operatives. Apparently it’s perfectly OK to directly harm national security so long as it might harm the current Administration.

Glenn Reynolds also points out that these searches have already been legally examined in depth. At RedState, Leon H. delves into the statutory issues of these investigations and finds it to be hardly an open-or-shut case.

Legally, Bush seems quite likely to be in the clear, and his recent press conference indicates he’s not backing down on this issue. Furthermore, this opens a potentially embarrassing leak investigation about how leaked this story in the first place. Politically, the Democrats are once again making themselves look hysterical and partisan. Sen. Reid was briefed on this program. Until it became politically expedient for him to do so, he never lodged so much as a word of protest. Hardly behavior worthy of a profile in courage.

The fact is that terrorism is a very real threat, these wiretaps are critical towards intercepting al-Qaeda communications with sleeper agents in the US, and programs like the NSA’s ECHELON program have conducted similar examinations of domestic communications long before President Bush was in office or the PATRIOT Act existed. This isn’t “spying on US citizens” this is “examining international communications of certain US citizens to potential terrorists abroad based on evidence suggesting a tie to terrorism” – the latter being more accurate but less sexy.

When it comes right down to it, the Democrats are constantly putting themselves on the wrong side of the national security issue. It’s almost pathological with them these days. They’d be far wiser to just shut the hell up and refocus the debate on domestic issues where the GOP has lost nearly all its strength. However, as long as the Democrats continue to argue that we should limit our power to locate and stop terrorist cells and attacks, they will continue to be rightly perceived as a party that is fatally weak on critical matters of national security.

5 thoughts on “Tied Up In Wiretaps

  1. “When it comes right down to it, the Democrats are constantly putting themselves on the wrong side of the national security issue.”

    And the Bush administration is constantly putting itself on the wrong side of the law. We already have one indictment as a result of their lawlessness and this could easily produce more. When former military judge Lindsay Graham comes out and said the administration operated outside the law, your usual idiotic boilerplate about “Democrats on the wrong side of the issue” doesn’t really apply. Of course, neither the law or reality has ever stopped a Republican from furthering their fantasies before, so why should it stop now.

    Bottom line: George Bush could be caught on videotape gunning down a nun in Central Park at high noon and, when the Democrats criticized, you’d respond with accusations that the Democrats are on the wrong side of national defense.

  2. If you don’t think Bush ignored the pieces of 9/11 before the attacks read THE TERROR TIMELINE, by Paul Thompson. Presidents Putin and Mubarak both warned the Bush Administration of the attacks as did King Abdullah.

  3. “It helps to actually, you know, read the links before making an ass of yourself…”

    The sources I have cancel out yours. REPUBLICAN Senator and former military judge Lindsay Graham said yesterday on “Face the Nation” that the administration acted outside of the law. And today, I read numerous pieces, including one from the Georgetown University Law Center citing that the administration had jurisdiction for its wiretapping activities for only 15 days under “extreme circumstrances”. Beyond those 15 days, court authorization is needed for extensions….which the administration never even pursued let alone received. In your haste to defend the administration’s latest act of criminality, you may want to look at all the facts and not simply rely on Glenn Reynolds’ opportunistic screed of the day.

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