Wednesday, December 21, 2005

We lived in a police state under Carter

Hat tip to Mike's America for this bit. Excerpt:
Feature the new line of political attack the left is launching against the White House. It is criticizing the Bush administration for authorizing the government to listen in on telephone and email conversations between America and places such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. And the Democratic Party, in the latest evidence of the bubble-like separation from reality in which the party lives, is working itself into a lather from which it is going to take weeks to recover, if it can recover at all.
Reasonable people may differ over the correct place to draw the line between civil liberties and national security in wartime, but this strikes us as a pretty clear-cut case. The Fourth Amendment states, "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."

At issue is whether the listening in on overseas phone conversations is, in a time of war, "unreasonable." A person is now subject to a warrantless search when boarding an airplane, entering the New York subway system, or even entering the building that houses the office of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Why should an international phone call be inviolate?

Beyond the Fourth Amendment, the law that is said to restrict the Bush administration's activities is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. But, contrary to what you may read in some other newspapers, that law does not require that all such surveillance be authorized by a court. The law provides at least two special exceptions to the requirement of a court order. As
FISA has been integrated into Title 50 of the U.S. Code, Chapter 36, Subchapter I, Section 1802, one such provision is helpfully headed, "Electronic surveillance authorization without court order."

This "without court order" was so clear that even President Carter, a Democrat not known for his vigilance in the war on terror, issued an executive order on May 23, 1979, stating, "Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order." He said, "without a court order."

America is in a war with Islamic extremists who are trying to defeat our country. "Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al Hamzi and Khalid al Mihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al Qaeda who were overseas," Mr. Bush said in his radio address. "But we didn't know they were here, until it was too late." The president said the activities he authorized by the National Security Agency "make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time."
The majority of Americans, we're confident, are grateful to Mr. Bush for setting the listening in motion and hope it succeeds in preventing another attack like the one on September 11, 2001. If this listening were not happening, it'd be a scandal. You don't even need a wiretap to predict that the same partisan Democrats who are now denouncing the president for supposedly infringing on civil liberties would be denouncing him for failing to take the steps necessary to protect us.
As Michelle Malkin points out, now Baghdad Jim McDermott (Seattle Moonbat formerly on the...I'm not kidding...House Ethics Committee) is complaining about the wiretapping. Considering he had an illegally intercepted and illegally recorded call from Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) years ago and was fined $60k for it, this qualifies as another degree of gall, doesn't it? More selective outrage, I suppose.

I've documented where Clinton did this kind of spying, too, and even for non-security reasons. It's not until a Republican president does it to stop Islamofascists from destroying the country that the practice becomes abhorrent to the left.

If we don't do it, and an attack happens, then Bush gets castigated for not preventing the attack. If we do it and no attacks happen, then Bush gets castigated for being a dictator, much like Carter and Clinton were similarly criticized. Oh, wait...Carter and Clinton weren't similarly criticized, were they? Then drink your glass of STFU and let the man do his freakin' job, willya?

Like the piece says, reasonable people can differ over the correct place to draw the line between civil liberties and national security in wartime. Fair enough. However, the disgusting hypocrisy displayed by the left (not to mention their heinous politicization of our security and defense) clearly excludes them from the "reasonable people" category, doesn't it?