Monday, August 21, 2006

Debunking the myth that "the terrorist knew they were being listened to"

Thanks to Chrome Dome for alerting me to this. Patterico has an excellent piece that refutes the left's meme that the terrorists already knew about the surveillance program:
After the New York Times told us about the NSA’s secret surveillance program, leftists confidently told us that the disclosure could not possibly have harmed our national security.

As we learned yesterday, that’s not what the people who have been talking to the terrorists say.

For months, lefties like Glenn Greenwald have confidently maintained that the disclosures of the NSA program did not harm national security. For example, Greenwald said this:
It is not even theoretically possible that disclosure of the illegal nature of the eavesdropping could endanger national security such that the Times was warranted in helping the Administration to conceal this patent law- breaking. Everyone, presumably including terrorists, assumed the Administration has been eavesdropping on conversations of those whom it suspects of engaging in terrorism.
and this:
Just as they did with the NSA eavesdropping program — where the Times, after a year-long delay, disclosed only the existence of the program but not its operational details — the media goes out of its way to avoid disclosure of any operational details or other information would could [sic] result in national security harm.
In other words, lefties like Greenwald said, terrorists would not change their methods of international communication simply because they read about the NSA surveillance program in the New York Times.

But we learned something different in yesterday’s travesty of a court opinion on the NSA surveillance program.

According to the plaintiffs — lawyers, scholars, journalists, and others who communicate internationally with terrorists — the disclosure of the surveillance program has caused terrorists to discontinue international telephone and e-mail communications:
Plaintiffs here contend that the TSP [”Terrorist Surveillance Program”] has interfered with their ability to carry out their professional responsibilities in a variety of ways, including that the TSP has had a significant impact on their ability to talk with sources, locate witnesses, conduct scholarship, engage in advocacy and communicate with persons who are outside of the United States, including in the Middle East and Asia. Plaintiffs have submitted several declarations to that effect. For example, scholars and journalists such as plaintiffs Tara McKelvey, Larry Diamond, and Barnett Rubin indicate that they must conduct extensive research in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and must communicate with individuals abroad whom the United States government believes to be terrorist suspects or to be associated with terrorist organizations.

In addition, attorneys Nancy Hollander, William Swor, Joshua Dratel, Mohammed Abdrabboh, and Nabih Ayad indicate that they must also communicate with individuals abroad whom the United States government believes to be terrorist suspects or to be associated with terrorist organizations, and must discuss confidential information over the phone and email with their international clients. All of the Plaintiffs contend that the TSP has caused clients, witnesses and sources to discontinue their communications with plaintiffs out of fear that their communications will be intercepted.
Let me put that into plain English: terrorists and their associates will no longer communicate with these plaintiffs via e-mail and telephone — in other words, ways that the government could monitor under the surveillance program — because the terrorists are aware of the surveillance program. It’s not the Terrorist Surveillance Program itself that has caused terrorists to cease these international communications. It’s the fact that the terrorists now know about it.

Greenwald and other lefties say that terrorists had always assumed their communications were being monitored, but these plaintiffs say otherwise. They say that, for a period of time, they communicated freely with these terrorists — but then along came revelations of the TSP, and their telephone and Internet communications with these suspected terrorists ceased.

Now: if terrorists will no longer communicate with lawyers, scholars, and journalists . . . do you think they may also have ceased their telephone and Internet communications with fellow terrorists?

Of course they have. Which means that the government is no longer monitoring those telephone or e-mail communications. The terrorists have had to find other ways to communicate — ways that the government may not be able to monitor as easily, or at all.

The terrorists have adapted. And we can thank our friends at the New York Times.

Unless the plaintiffs were all lying, this is solid evidence that the NSA disclosures by the New York Times have indeed harmed our national security.
Ain't that a damned shame? I mean, if you can't get a terrorist to talk with a lawyer, or a scholar, or a reporter...just who in the hell can you get an Islamofascist bloodlusting camel-humper to talk to? What is this world coming to? Damn that George Bush! For those of you on the left, this paragraph was sarcasm.

It's a tragedy of huge proportions that these people can freely admit to communicating with terrorism suspects, and not only be free from incarceration, but free to sue on behalf of their "constitutional right" to communicate with terrorists who want this country destroyed! The only thing more disgusting than such chutzpah was that they got an American (by birth, anyway) judge to agree with their perverted point of view!