12/22/2005: Apologists for Law-Breakers...
Our Apologists for the Criminal Law-Breaking, Constitution bAdmin have been Bizee. Today, old Babbling Brooks takes a stab at "defending" CIC for his violations of FISA and Constitutional Protections. (Click on the "more" button to read this cock-and-bull fairy tail.)
But had to send him this note:
What kind of a FUCKED UP argument for violating the U.S. Constitution and Federal LAWS and STATUTES do you think you're making today? You certainly must remember that document (THE U.S. CONSTITUTION) Bush swore an Oath of Office to uphold with his special Bible and Prayer. And all the "faithfully execute the laws" tid-bit.
And BTW I'd just LOVE to know what law school on Constitutional LAW you attended...your bio is a bit sketchy on that minor detail.
You write: "This has had a cumulative effect on your psychology..."
The *cumulative effect* must be that ya end up a POWER HUNGRY, DICTATORIAL, EXTRA-CONSTITUTIONAL NIGHTMARE of a Commander-In-Chief who THINKS NO LAWS apply to YOU.
So go sign up for Law School 101 before you contend that these legal processes and procedures are just too cumbersome for poor ole King Georgie to follow.
and as Bryan (at Why Now) has been pointing out the horrible position this puts the actual NSA folks in:
"...Those now working as members of the National Security Agency have been placed in a terrible position by the man who supposed to be their leader.
If you are a Master Sergeant with 18 years of service you are faced with obeying an unlawful order or losing your retirement two years away. You can be charged with disobeying a direct order if you refuse to participate. You can be charged with illegal wiretapping if you do participate. The operation is classified, so you can't seek assistance from the Staff Judge Advocate [military lawyer], or anyone else. You are not protected by the "whistleblower statute", because you work for an intelligence agency. You can't resign, because your family doesn't have "friends" in the power structure to "fix it" for you. Your leader has screwed you over because of his hubris, his arrogance. He doesn't understand "duty", and has no conception of "honor", and couldn't care less about your life, family, or future.
That's why I'm more angry than those who only upset about the illegal spying on Americans. I'm angry for those who are spied upon and those who are forced to do the spying. That's why this embodiment of scum should be impeached, indicted, and sent to prison."
So - a POX on David Brooks and his faux argument for allowing the CIC to ignore our Civil Liberties in the name of fake security.
When Big Brother Is You
By DAVID BROOKS
Let's play "You're the President." Let's put you in the Oval Office and see what kind of decisions you make in real-world circumstances.
Because you are president, you are briefed each day on terrorist threats to this country. These briefings are as psychologically intense as an episode of "24," with descriptions of specific bad guys and their activities.
This has had a cumulative effect on your psychology. While many of your fellow citizens have relaxed as 9/11 has faded into history, you don't have that luxury. Your briefings, and some terrifying false alarms that haven't been made public, keep you in a perpetual state of high alert.
You know that one of the few advantages we have over the terrorists is technological superiority. You are damned sure you are going to use every geek, every computer program and every surveillance technique at your disposal to prevent a future attack. You have inherited the FISA process to regulate this intelligence gathering. It's a pretty good process. FISA judges usually issue warrants quickly and, when appropriate, retroactively.
But the FISA process has shortcomings. First, it's predicated on a division between foreign and domestic activity that has been rendered obsolete by today's mobile communications methods. Second, the process still involves some cumbersome paperwork and bureaucratic foot-dragging. Finally, the case-by-case FISA method is ill suited to the new information-gathering technologies, which include things like automated systems that troll through vast amounts of data looking for patterns, voices and chains of contacts.
Over time you've become convinced that these new technologies, which are run by National Security Agency professionals and shielded from political influence, help save lives. You've seen that these new surveillance techniques helped foil an attack on the Brooklyn Bridge and bombing assaults in Britain. The question is, How do you regulate the new procedures to protect liberties?
Your aides present you with three options. First, you can ask Congress to rewrite the FISA law to keep pace with the new technologies. This has some drawbacks. How exactly do you write a law to cope with this fast-changing information war? Even if you could set up a procedure to get warrant requests to a judge, how would that judge be able to tell which of the thousands of possible information nodes is worth looking into, or which belongs to a U.S. citizen? Swamped in the data-fog, the courts would just become meaningless rubber-stamps. Finally, it's likely that some member of Congress would leak details of the program during the legislative process, thus destroying it.
Your second option is to avoid Congress and set up a self-policing mechanism using the Justice Department and the N.S.A.'s inspector general. This option, too, has drawbacks. First, it's legally dubious. Second, it's quite possible that some intelligence bureaucrat will leak information about the programs, especially if he or she hopes to swing a presidential election against you. Third, if details do come out and Congressional leaders learn you went around them, there will be blowback that will not only destroy the program, but will also lead to more restrictions on executive power.
Your third option is informal Congressional oversight. You could pull a few senior members of Congress into your office and you could say: "Look, given the fast-moving nature of this conflict, there is no way we can codify rules about what is permissible and impermissible. Instead we will create a social contract. I'll trust you by telling you everything we are doing to combat terror. You'll trust me enough to give me the flexibility I need to keep the country safe. If we have disagreements, we will work them out in private."
These are your three options, Mr. President, and these are essentially the three options George Bush faced a few years ago. (He chose Option 2.) But before you decide, let me tell you one more thing: Options 1 and 2 won't work, and Option 3 is impossible.
Options 1 and 2 won't work because they lead to legalistic rigidities and leaks that will destroy the program. Option 3 is impossible because it requires trust. It requires that the president and the Congressional leaders trust one another. It requires Democrats and Republicans to trust one another. We don't have that kind of trust in America today.
That leaves you with Option 4: Face the fact that we will not be using our best technology to monitor the communications of known terrorists. Face the fact that the odds of an attack on America just went up.
Karen on 12.22.05 @ 07:40 AM CST