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October 9, 2007
Helping Bush "Tear up the Constitution"
After spending the last several years wailing about how George Bush has been "tearing up the Constitution" by spying willy nilly on everyone from terrorists to your Auntie Midge, Democrats are preparing to announce to the American people "never mind:"
Two months after vowing to roll back broad new wiretapping powers won by the Bush administration, Congressional Democrats appear ready to make concessions that could extend some of the key powers granted to the National Security Agency. Democrats have been running around the country for the last 3 years screaming about the egregious violations of civil liberties and "law breaking" by the Bush Administration as it pertains to the Terrorist Surveillance Program. And now all of a sudden they get wimpy because they're afraid of being tarred with the "soft on terrorism" label by the evil Republicans.
Bush administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened wiretapping authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess, and some Democratic officials admit that they may not come up with the votes to rein in the administration.
As the debate over the N.S.A.’s wiretapping powers begins anew this week, the emerging legislation reflects the political reality confronting the Democrats. While they are willing to oppose the White House on the conduct of the war in Iraq, they remain nervous that they will be labeled as soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on intelligence gathering.
A Democratic bill to be proposed Tuesday in the House would maintain for several years the type of broad, blanket authority for N.S.A. wiretapping that the administration secured in August for just six months. But in an acknowledgment of civil liberties concerns, the measure would also require a more active role by the special foreign intelligence court that oversees the N.S.A.’s interception of foreign-based communications.
Sorry, not buying it. We've known since the Intelligence Committees for the House and Senate were briefed on the program that there was nothing illegal or unconstitutional about the program. There was no hue and cry at the time by Democratic intelligence committee members to scuttle the program. Ever since then, the Democrats have used the top secret nature of the program to hint at dark forces at work, spying on ordinary Americans including war protestors.
Bunkum. The Bush Administration can't defend themselves against such charges because they know by revealing top secret details on how the program works, it would make it virtually useless. Knowing this, the Democrats feel safe wailing and gnashing their teeth about a program that almost certainly has headed off several terrorist attacks and help roll up terrorist cells around the world.
It has been nothing less than shameless pandering by the Democrats to their paranoid base. Damned effective too. But I guess we can count our blessings that they won't stand in the way of the reauthorization of a program that has probably done more to keep us safe than all the caterwauling done by Democrats about its potential for harm.