Carol Platt Liebau: More Accountability

Friday, December 16, 2005

More Accountability

The New York Times today gets the vapors over a program which, according to its defenders, has been a "critical tool in helping disrupt terrorist plots and prevent attacks inside the United States."

Apparently, the NSA was monitoring some domestic phone calls that were believed to be "tied" to Al Qaeda phone numbers in the days after 9/11 (when the left still remembered what having a terrorist attack on American soil was like).

Who's upset about this monitoring, and who wants to weaken the government's intelligence gathering efforts? Again, we just want to know, so that if an attack comes, we'll be aware of exactly who enabled it.

And speaking of accountability -- not only has the publication of the Times article jepordized ongoing investigations, it's also tied to a book release. Not that the giants of journalistic ethics at the Times informed us of this fact.

Shameful.

One further thought: Who, exactly, is leaking this classified information? Isn't the alleged leaking of classified information the "big crime" that has had the left wing shrieking for months? And isn't it just as wrong when it's revealing a program that has helped protect America from terrorist attacks, as when it reveals the identity of a once-covert CIA desk jockey?

10 Comments:

Blogger eLarson said...

I'm chuckling over the big "secret". If Jay Rockefeller know, lots of people knew.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Barbara O'Brien said...

First, regarding the book, it's going to be published by The Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, owned by Viacom. The publisher has no financial ties to the New York Times. The "book release" connection is a red herring.

Second, the 4th Amendment says,

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

No exceptions. If the process for getting warrants is cumbersome, then streamline the process. But don't delete the 4th Amendment from the Bill of Rights.

I was in lower Manhattan on 9/11, and I would not weaken so much as a punctuation mark in the Bill of Rights for the sake of "security."

12:33 PM  
Blogger LQ said...

I’d rather be alive with my civil liberties abridged than dead with them intact. Still, I think the president needs to change the law, not violate it. I think Bush may have done the right thing, but not the legal thing. He needs to do both. Meanwhile, thank God the Brooklyn Bridge stands and all those who use it are still alive.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Barbara O'Brien said...

"I think the president needs to change the law, not violate it."

Presidents can't change law. Congress changes law. And Congress cannot violate the 4th Amendment; that would take another amendment.

If there was sincere concern that some part of the process of getting a warrant was cumbersome, I have no doubt that Congress would have bent over backward to streamline the process.

Bush makes a lot of speeches about courage and resolve. Well, protecting the integrity of the Bill of Rights deserves some courage and resolve, IMO.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Bachbone said...

So far, we have only the word of unnamed sources that warrants were not obtained.

The NYT may not have a financial interest in Risen's book, but it has shown a deep interest in opposing President Bush at every turn since his election. As has Viacom, which owns The Free Press.

If Bush had not done everything possible following 9/11, his critics, including the NYT, would have a field day complaining when we get hit again.

Darned if he does, darned if he doesn't. Better safe than sorry, I say, when the 'sorry' could involved thousands of casualties.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

"Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither security nor liberty." -Benjamin Franklin

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." -Thomas Jefferson

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated" -Fourth Amendment

4:19 PM  
Blogger LQ said...

A "little security?"
"Inconveniences?" Not the words I would use to describe the threats we face from terrorists.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

This is just sad.

The Pentagon is illegally tracking domestic anti-war protestors, and conservatives excuse it because the Bush administration claims it protect us from terrorists.

The Bush administration institutes wide spread torture as official US policy, and conservatives excuse it because the Bush administration claims it protect us from terrorists.

A United States citizen is held in solitary confinement for three years without being charged with anything, and conservatives excuse it because the Bush administration claims it protect us from terrorists.

Now we find out the President personally ordered the unlawful surveillance of US residents, and conservatives excuse it because the Bush administration claims it protect us from terrorists.

Conservatives making these arguments, are claiming that President Bush can violate the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments to the Constitution at his whim. So tell me, eLarson, Bachbone, LQ, Carol, anyone--if you are willing to throw away 40% of the Bill of Rights, how much farther are you willing to let the Bush administration go to protect us from terrorists?

If the Bush administration claimed that requiring newspapers, radio, and television outlets to get their news pre-approved by the government would help protect us from terrorists, would you be ok with that?

If the Bush adminsitration posited that banning private gun ownership would help protect us from terrorists, would you be ok with that?

If the Bush administration announced that rounding up all Americans of middle eastern descent and holding them in detention facilities would help protect us from terrorists, would you be ok with that?

If the Bush administration argued that indefinately postponing the 2008 Presidential election would help protect us from terrorists, would you be ok with that?

6:57 AM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

If the need is really so great and so clear, would it really have been so difficult to obtain a warrant?

I submit that the discipline of having to obtain a warrant would lead to better, not worse intelligence since the intelligence agencies would have to articulate what they want, why, and how it ties into legitimate national security interests.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Rzafft wrote, "If the need is really so great and so clear, would it really have been so difficult to obtain a warrant?"

Remember, under the current law, enforcement agencies can get warrants from the FISA court up to three days after undertaking the surveillance. The law was crafted specifically to meet the special needs inherent in preventing external threats to the United States.

10:34 PM  

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