« Thus Speaks The Tolerant Left |
Blog Home Page
| E.J. Dionne Defends Kos »
August 4, 2007
New York Times on FISA Reform
Over the last few days, there has been a lot of attention given to the fact that the FISA courts have prevented our nation from investigating communications between terrorism suspects who are overseas but whose communications travel through American owned communication networks. This is a major failing that Congress was alerted to, at the latest, in testimony given on May 1st.
Only now, when the media has publicized this security lapse, has Congress acted to close this loophole. The Times criticizes Congress for even considering these baby steps. The Times takes even Congressional Democrats to task:
"Yet, once again, President Bush has been trying to stampede Congress into a completely unnecessary expansion of his power to spy on Americans. And, hard as it is to believe, Congressional Republicans seem bent on collaborating, while Democrats (who can still be cowed by the White House’s with-us-or-against-us baiting) aren’t doing enough to stop it." In the latest "have to read it to believe it" column "Stampeding Congress, Again", the paper hyperventilates:
Instead of asking Congress to address this anachronism, as it should, the White House sought to use it to destroy the 1978 spying law. It proposed giving the attorney general carte blanche to order eavesdropping on any international telephone calls or e-mail messages if he decided on his own that there was a “reasonable belief” that the target of the surveillance was outside the United States. The paper calls this rush to close the loophole - "a false urgency". Recall, Congress has been aware of this problem since May1st-what urgency is Congress displaying? Then it engages in its normal paranoia regarding, not terrorists, but George Bush.
The attorney general’s decision would not be subject to court approval or any supervision. The White House, of course, insisted that Congress must do this right away, before the August recess that begins on Monday — the same false urgency it used to manipulate Congress into passing the Patriot Act without reading it and approving the appalling Military Commissions Act of 2006.
The administration and its Republican supporters in Congress argue that American intelligence is blinded by FISA and have seized on neatly timed warnings of heightened terrorist activity to scare everyone. It is vital for Americans, especially lawmakers, to resist that argument. It is pure propaganda. Neatly timed terror warnings-I have not been aware of any heightened alerts being announced-there has been no public pronouncements regarding heightened risk alert levels. Where is the Times getting its news from-The Daily Kos?
Will the paper go to any lengths to help terrorists?