Carol Platt Liebau: A Couple of Points Well Worth Noting

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Couple of Points Well Worth Noting

First: From today's Wall Street Journal, on the topic of certain ignorant senators (yes, that's you -- Feingold, Graham, Biden) assuming that the warrantless surveillance authorized by the President has violated the law:

FISA established a process by which certain wiretaps in the context of the Cold War could be approved, not a limit on what wiretaps could ever be allowed. The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that "we take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

Second: The invaluable Jack Kelly points out ridiculous grandstanding in the war on terror: McCain's egomaniacal ban on torture that isn't, and the heightened danger America now confronts (for example, our inability to conduct the same kind of roving wiretaps on terrorists that are routinely visited upon drug lords) because of the Democratic filibuster of the Patriot Act. (Special thanks to Republican Senatorial Hall of Shamers Larry Craig, Lisa Murkowski, Chuck Hagel and John Sunnunu for helping them pull this one off. Care to explain what you're doing to make us safer?)

8 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Carol is worried about a couple of things: "McCain's egomaniacal ban on torture that isn't..." and the "Democratic filibuster of the Patriot Act."

Why worry, Carol? According to the legal theory you posited above, the President to choose to ignore the McCain amendment and torture as many people as he wants. Heck, he could ven go further and torture as many people as Dick Cheney wants.

Since President Bush feels he doesn't have to obey the FISA law, why are you worried about the PATRIOT act? The President can just decide, as the Chief Executive, that he is going to do whatever the heck he wants to do for whatever reason he wants.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Well, Mr. Twisted,

Perhaps it's because Bush is more abiding of the law than the lunatic left would like us all to believe.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Mr.Twister:

I tend to disagree with you on many issues. However, I have to admit the following quote from you is genuinely funny:

"According to the legal theory you posited above, the President to(sic) choose to ignore the McCain amendment and torture as many people as he wants. Heck, he could ven(sic) go further and torture as many people as Dick Cheney wants."

I have zero expertise in the issues brought up in this wire tapping situation. I could be wrong, and please forgive me if I am, but I'd guess you don't have any expertise in these matters either. All we have is opinion.

My opinion is this: If the Administration has used this tactic to spy on suspected terrorists, I'm OK with it. If the Administration has abused this tactic to spy on political opponents, etc., then I think the President should be impeached.

All I've seen from the Democrats since 2000 is a negative, opportunistic, obstructionist attitude towards EVERYTHING this Administration has undertaken. Like the boy who cried wolf too many times, the Democrats have destroyed their credibility on nearly every political issue.

On the other hand, the President has actually taken serious and effective actions to defeat those who want to kill us.

I'll give the President the benefit of the doubt on this one until ill will is proven. After all, from the reading I've done so far (lack of expertise again acknowledged), these tactics are at worst defensible and at best perfectly legal and right-minded.

Aren't you at all concerned about the leaking of national security secrets, Mr. Twister?

6:47 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

All twister, duke, and others of their ilk care to do is rag on our President. Good news for Bush and America is bad news for them!

All is concern for monitoring is bogus, however, because it has been going on for years - like well before W got into office! The tapping has been done to protect America and has not been disputed when done by a democrat. This is certainly selective outrage, and bogus!

7:42 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

Twister, that was wonderful. Thanks for expressing my thoughts so well. I often listen to such as Carl Levin complaining about some aspect of policy and I say to the screen, So? So what? Or, good, that's exactly what we should be doing. I suspect many/most are saying the same.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Marshall Art wrote, "Perhaps it's because Bush is more abiding of the law than the lunatic left would like us all to believe."

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Thanx for that, Marhall Art. There is nothing like a little joke to break up such a somber topic.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Greg wrote, "I have zero expertise in the issues brought up in this wire tapping situation. I could be wrong, and please forgive me if I am, but I'd guess you don't have any expertise in these matters either. All we have is opinion."

You can also lean on the expertise of others. If you go here you can read what actual SigInt guys feel about this.

Greg also wrote, "I'll give the President the benefit of the doubt on this one until ill will is proven."

Greg, what counts as ill will and how much do you need? Does directly lying to the American people about this subject add to the "ill will" factor?

In April of last year the President said, “Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.” All the while, George W. Bush knew that, at his request, the NSA was undertaking wiretaps without warrants.

How about the excessively wide spread use of wiretaps? The President claimed he only authorized non-warranted wire taps on people with known connection to al Quaeda making international calls. According to the Fox News White House correspondent in today's press gaggle, over 18,000 people have been effected by the President's initiative. Do you believe there are over 18,000 al Quaeda operatives in the United States? (Caveat--this is a single report, and it may not be accurate, but if the number truly is 18,000, would that count as "ill will?")

Greg, I am asking the same question I have asked on this topic elsewhere. By explicitly violating the FISA, the President is claiming that he is above the law. What limit, if any, do you see being in place on Executive power?

9:01 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Greg also asked, "Aren't you at all concerned about the leaking of national security secrets, Mr. Twister?"

What national security secrets are those, Greg? Do you figure the al Quaeda types were too stupid to figure out we were trying to listen to their phone calls?

(Even if they are that stupid, on 9/12/2001, Sen. Orrin Hatch stated that we had cell phone intercepts of conversations between Bin Laden associates. That statement pretty much lets the cat out of the bag, don't you think?)

According to FISA, you have up to three days after the inital intercepts to request a warrant for a wiretap. The request would have gone to the FISA court, whose docket, deliberations, rulings, etc. are all classified.

In my opinion the best way to safeguard the release of national security secrets would have been to have the President choose to obey the laws of the United States.

9:15 PM  

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