Calming Views of Spygate

Bill Schanefelt
The conservative blogosphere is aflame about PRISM, data-mining, and every aspect of NSA's surveillance, and, perhaps, it should be.

However, two of the most intelligent, powerful, impeccably-qualified, and level-headed voices of the Right are telling us all to, well, just hold our horses.

First, we have Andrew McCarthy saying that, "In truth, though, there is nothing new or groundbreaking about the surveillance in question."

And he goes on to say that, "Unlike the content of your communications, you have no expectation of privacy in your telephone activity records."

Nevertheless, he prefaces this piece with these comments:

Now, we begin to see the wages of having an administration that abuses its awesome powers, then, as night follows day, stonewalls and misleads Congress and the public. Crucial national security measures, which operate on the forgiving assumption that government officials will conduct themselves honorably, are put at risk.

So, the activity, per se, is not illegitimate: The problem is just that it is being carried out by what increasingly seems to be a vast, criminal enterprise:

This is why it's so critical to have a trustworthy president and administration - including an attorney general Congress can trust to provide truthful, accurate and complete information. It is not unreasonable to conclude that the Obama administration - with its serial lawlessness, authoritarian abuses of power to harass dissenters, and pattern of misleading and stonewalling Congress - has so grossly violated the public trust that it is unfit to exercise the executive's awesome investigative authorities. It must also be observed, though, that those authorities exist because they are necessary to our security.  The problem here is not government power. It is the government officials we've elected to wield it.

He also has great fun with the way the WaPo dealt with the leak it got:

The Post has a propensity to repeat uncritically the hysterical claims of anti-anti-terrorism activists at outfits like the Brennan Center ("This is a truly stunning revelation," shrieks one Brennan official)....The Post solves this inconvenience (if the not-newness of the operation) by underscoring that the record-collection is happening under ... wait for it ... the Patriot Act - two words that not only roil Bush-deranged Democrats but also make some factions of the Tea Party see red.

Hence, we should concentrate on the doers and not what was being done---at least so far in this case!

Read it all to get the proper, sober perspective on and assessment of this explosive and complex issue---and hope that congresspeople don't do something dumb in response to the whole thing.

And the other sobering piece is this one by John Yoo who begins by saying, "The latest Obama administration controversy will not prove as bad as it first seems."

Read it and follow his link in the piece to find a fuller explication.

Both writers tell us that the while the ice we are skating on is thin, we haven't broken through---yet.

 

 

The conservative blogosphere is aflame about PRISM, data-mining, and every aspect of NSA's surveillance, and, perhaps, it should be.

However, two of the most intelligent, powerful, impeccably-qualified, and level-headed voices of the Right are telling us all to, well, just hold our horses.

First, we have Andrew McCarthy saying that, "In truth, though, there is nothing new or groundbreaking about the surveillance in question."

And he goes on to say that, "Unlike the content of your communications, you have no expectation of privacy in your telephone activity records."

Nevertheless, he prefaces this piece with these comments:

Now, we begin to see the wages of having an administration that abuses its awesome powers, then, as night follows day, stonewalls and misleads Congress and the public. Crucial national security measures, which operate on the forgiving assumption that government officials will conduct themselves honorably, are put at risk.

So, the activity, per se, is not illegitimate: The problem is just that it is being carried out by what increasingly seems to be a vast, criminal enterprise:

This is why it's so critical to have a trustworthy president and administration - including an attorney general Congress can trust to provide truthful, accurate and complete information. It is not unreasonable to conclude that the Obama administration - with its serial lawlessness, authoritarian abuses of power to harass dissenters, and pattern of misleading and stonewalling Congress - has so grossly violated the public trust that it is unfit to exercise the executive's awesome investigative authorities. It must also be observed, though, that those authorities exist because they are necessary to our security.  The problem here is not government power. It is the government officials we've elected to wield it.

He also has great fun with the way the WaPo dealt with the leak it got:

The Post has a propensity to repeat uncritically the hysterical claims of anti-anti-terrorism activists at outfits like the Brennan Center ("This is a truly stunning revelation," shrieks one Brennan official)....The Post solves this inconvenience (if the not-newness of the operation) by underscoring that the record-collection is happening under ... wait for it ... the Patriot Act - two words that not only roil Bush-deranged Democrats but also make some factions of the Tea Party see red.

Hence, we should concentrate on the doers and not what was being done---at least so far in this case!

Read it all to get the proper, sober perspective on and assessment of this explosive and complex issue---and hope that congresspeople don't do something dumb in response to the whole thing.

And the other sobering piece is this one by John Yoo who begins by saying, "The latest Obama administration controversy will not prove as bad as it first seems."

Read it and follow his link in the piece to find a fuller explication.

Both writers tell us that the while the ice we are skating on is thin, we haven't broken through---yet.