Sunday, January 08, 2006


People familiar with the process say the problem is not so much with the court itself as with the process required to bring a case before the court. "It takes days, sometimes weeks, to get the application for FISA together," says one source. "It's not so much that the court doesn't grant them quickly, it's that it takes a long time to get to the court. Even after the Patriot Act, it's still a very cumbersome process. It is not built for speed, it is not built to be efficient. It is built with an eye to keeping [investigators] in check."

Lawmakers of both parties recognized the problem in the months after the September 11 terrorist attacks. They pointed to the case of Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent who ran up against a number roadblocks in her effort to secure a FISA warrant in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, the al Qaeda operative who had taken flight training in preparation for the hijackings. *** Rowley wrote up her concerns in a famous 13-page memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller, and then elaborated on them in testimony to Congress. "Rowley depicted the legal mechanism for security warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, as burdensome and restrictive, a virtual roadblock to effective law enforcement," Legal Times reported in September 2002.
I do NOT think that the American electorate wants the nation to be as poorly defended NOW as we were BEFORE 9/11. If it takes a legal and constitutional presidential executive order (three dozen meticulously followed orders, I might add) to insure that we intercept al Qaeda communications IMMEDIATELY - MEANING AS SOON AS WE GET PHONE NUMBERS AND EMAIL ADRESSES AND NOT A MOMENT LATER, then so be it. National defense is job one.

And the current Democrat Party can't be trusted with national defense. This isn't merely me ranting; it's JOE KLEIN of TIME:
Democrats are on thin ice here. Some of the wilder donkeys talked about a possible Bush impeachment after the NSA program was revealed.

The latest version of the absolutely necessary Patriot Act, which updates the laws regulating the war on terrorism and contains civil-liberties improvements over the first edition, was nearly killed by a stampede of Senate Democrats.

Most polls indicate that a strong majority of Americans favor the act, and I suspect that a strong majority would favor the NSA program as well, if its details were declassified and made known. [...]

and until the Democrats make clear that they will err on the side of aggressiveness in the war against al-Qaeda, they will probably not regain the majority in Congress or the country.


Terry Ott said...

The Democrats are losing my potential vote over this issue. I enter each election cycle as a "blank slate" in terms of having made up my mind how to vote; I work hard to maintain my "independent" thinker mode. Some would say that's not possible, and for many it may not be, inasmuch as their political persuasion is in their DNA somehow. To me, there are times and situations that call for one approach to governance and policy, and times and situation that call for others.

I was trained to be a consultant and I made a damn good living at it for 20 years, largely by staying open to all kinds of ideas from all quarters before leading the decision process within client organizations toward the best solution set for them, in the circumstances. Now I try to apply that kind of discipline to important decisions (like voting; like investing; like advocating policy and practice) in my own life.

This is an issue where the "left" could not be more wrong, in terms of where common sense and "ordinary" and sincere voters will come out. Do they have any inkling that they are making great strides in rendering themselves irrelevant? It would seem not.

Reliapundit said...

well said. thanks.