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Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,





Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lack Of Intelligence

If your as disgusted about this as I am, call Spectors office and let him know what you think of his antics.

From IBD:
Posted 3/28/2006


War Powers: Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has begun a crusade against President Bush over the wiretapping of suspected terrorists. It's hard to see the benefit — beyond Specter's own ego.

Thanks to a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian, legislation regarding spying on terrorist communications in the U.S. will not be within the exclusive purview of the Senate's Select Intelligence Committee, chaired by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who's generally been supportive of the White House.

The Judiciary panel, chaired by Pennsylvania liberal Republican Specter, gets an even bigger piece of the action.

President Bush personally saved Specter's skin in 2004 by campaigning for him in Pennsylvania against a powerful underdog challenge from Pat Toomey, a congressman at the time and now the president of the Club for Growth. But Specter's way of returning the favor is to accuse the president of trampling on the Constitution by going all out against terrorism.

"I want to put the administration on notice," Specter roared earlier this month at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on hurricane relief funds. "I may be looking for an amendment to limit funding for the electronic surveillance program, which is the power of the purse, if we can't get an answer (on the program's details) in any other way." Specter is a member of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

"I hope we don't do something like cut off the ability of our NSA to intercept calls from al-Qaida," retorted Specter's fellow Republican Sen. Christopher Bond of Missouri, one of many Republicans unhappy with Specter's agitation against Bush.

Specter wants to change the law to allow the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review the NSA program's constitutionality on a regular basis.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recently noted that our allies in the war on terror themselves recognize that wartime powers can coexist with democratic liberties. Speaking in London earlier this month, Gonzales said, "It is noteworthy that the practice of obtaining electronic surveillance without a judicial warrant has long been accepted in Europe as something that can be accomplished with proper respect for liberty and privacy interests.

"France, for example, allows public prosecutors to order wiretapping without judicial warrant if they believe doing so would be useful for determining whether a terrorist offense has occurred," Gonzales noted. "Here in the U.K., the Home Secretary has the same power, subject to careful checks."

Does Specter actually want to make it harder to track terrorists here than it is to do in France?

During Specter's tough re-election campaign against Toomey, many Republicans feared what it would mean for Specter to become Judiciary Committee chairman. They thought he would derail President Bush's Supreme Court nominees.

Little did they realize that in a pathetic show of grandstanding, it would be the war on terror Specter would seek to undermine.

3 comments:

They Say Nothing said...

You don't see a benefit to his actions? You really don't mind the government listening to your phone calls? The Administration has yet to offer a realisitic reason for working outside of FISA.

The only reason that explains thier behavior is that they are sweeping across the full bandwidth of calls, which is something they have wanted to do for awhile.

Congress was willing to extend FISA to cover just about anything - much more than I would allow the government to do.

Specter is standing up for us, one of the only being trying to keep the suits off our backs. He should be appluaded, not derided.

The Lone Patriot said...

1 The program uses computers to data-mine digital signals picked up from the satelite. Nobody is "listening". If you don't understand data-mining, look it up.

2 The program targets specific phone numbers that have been targeted through our intelligence gathering and only on calls made to or from locations outside the U.S.

3 Since I don't engage in terrorist or criminal activity and do not make calls to the Middle East, I have nothing to fear.

Critics of the administration have yet to prove one case where this program resulted in the arrest of an innocent person. Additionally, the 911 commission highly criticized FISA as a major obstacle in our ability to "connect the dots".

Constitutionally, Jimmy Carter never should have signed the Bill and Bill Clinton already challenged it and won when he was using it to try to snare tax dodgers after the Oklahoma City Bombing, Jaime Gorelick, later of the 911 Commission argued on behalf of the Clinton Administration.

Spector is a grand-standing RINO who has done as much to undermine our ability to track known terrorist groups in this country as any of the Democrats. He should have lost to Thume and should be thrown off his committee before he gets more innocent Americans killed.

But I appreciate your comments!

The Lone Patriot said...

You state that the administration has yet to offer a realistic reason for working outside of FISA (I assume you mean the court).

Actually, that decision was made during Carter's own administration, when he signed Executive Order 12139 on May 23, 1979. It authorized the attorney general "to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order."

This was after 1978's Foreign Intelligence Service Act set up a special and secret court for the purpose of granting foreign intelligence.

Two years earlier, Carter and his attorney general, Griffin Bell, authorized the warrantless surveillance of two individuals, Truong Dinh Hung and Ronald Louis Humphrey, who subsequently were convicted of spying for the Vietnamese government.

The two men challenged their convictions on the basis that evidence against them was obtained illegally using the wiretaps. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld their convictions, saying the executive branch has the "inherent authority" to wiretap enemies such as spies and terror plotters and is excused from obtaining warrants when the surveillance is "conducted primarily for foreign intelligence reasons."

Sound familiar? Attorney General Alberto Gonzales used almost the same language recently in defending Bush's National Security Agency surveillance of suspected terrorists abroad and their contacts in the U.S.

Similar language also was used by Bell when he went to Capitol Hill in '78 to speak in favor of FISA. While the measure didn't explicitly acknowledge the "inherent power of the president to conduct electronic surveillance," he testified, "it does not take away the power of the president under the Constitution."

Yet Jimmy Carter, contradicting both his words and his deeds, and those of his attorney general, said after Gonzales' testimony that it was "ridiculous" for Bush's top law enforcer to argue that spying is justified by Article II of the Constitution.

If anything is illegal, it's the unauthorized disclosure of the NSA program. Former Congressman and now CIA Director Porter Goss, who co-sponsored the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act that protects those who report abuse of authorized surveillance programs, on Friday said that those who leaked the program's existence "are committing a criminal act that potentially places American lives at risk."

In an op-ed published in The New York Times, which publicly exposed the NSA program, Goss wrote that the law requires suspected abuses be reported to Congress, not directly to the media. "Those who choose to bypass the law and go straight to the press are not noble, honorable or patriotic," he said, but criminals.

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, courageously broke with her party and suggested that the Times should be prosecuted for its role in exposing the classified program. "If the press was part of the process of delivering classified information," she said, "there should be some limits on press immunity."
I agree.

And perhaps Jimmy Carter can be a character witness at the trial.