Thursday, January 26, 2006

This one's going to smart

Remember that whole, "we needed to go beyond FISA because we needed to monitor foreign suspects in a quick time frame" and "we're at war, we should be able to surveil the enemy" and the "congress knew, we briefed them, they authorized it in the Iraq war resolutions"? Time to say:


Actually, I'm not the one calling BS. That's been done by others, I'm just passing along the news with my own personal disgust added in.

FACT: Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) proposed amending the FISA warrant standard from "probable cause" to "reasonable suspicion" in 2002.

FACT: The Bush administration said...NO.

From the Post (emphasis mine):

"During Senate debate over DeWine's amendment in July 2002, James A. Baker, the Justice Department's counsel for intelligence policy, said in a statement that the Bush administration did not support the proposal "because the proposed change raises both significant legal and practical issues."

The administration rejected DeWine's proposal, according to the Post, because it was unclear that it was constitutional and it would create practical problems.

Shabby reporting at best. Actually, the administration's terms were MUCH more specific. As quoted by NY blogger Glenn Greenwald, Baker went on to explain that the Patriot Act had established more than sufficient flexibility to conduct necessary wiretaps:

"The reforms in those measures (the PATRIOT Act) have affected every single application made by the Department for electronic surveillance or physical search of suspected terrorists and have enabled the government to become quicker, more flexible, and more focused in going "up" on those suspected terrorists in the United States.

One simple but important change that Congress made was to lengthen the time period for us to bring to court applications in support of Attorney General-authorized emergency FISAs. This modification has allowed us to make full and effective use of FISA's pre-existing emergency provisions to ensure that the government acts swiftly to respond to terrorist threats. Again, we are grateful for the tools Congress provided us last fall for the fight against terrorism. Thank you."

And the final point that put the kibosh on DeWine's proposal, from admin mouthpiece Baker:

"The Department of Justice has been studying Sen. DeWine's proposed legislation. Because the proposed change raises both significant legal and practical issues, the Administration at this time is not prepared to support it."
So, in conclusion, the King George is correct when he says "we briefed Congress". He's only lying about the details. Their briefing was, "hey, no thanks, FISA will do just fine" and then, after reassuring Congress that FISA was great, they did an end around and abrogated FISA anyway.

So, in sum, what we have here is:

- A Government analyst and spokesman concluding that the "reasonable suspicion" standard is unnecessary and unconstitutional.
- A government analyst and spokesman concluding further wiretap powers are not needed.
- King George and crew lying to Congress and telling them they didn't need an expansion or dilution of FISA to conduct the war.
- Unconstitutional wiretaps that included innocent Americans.

I'd say this story just got a LOT worse for King George. It's one thing to spy on people and say it's justified because we're "at war". It's a whole 'nuther ballgame to blatantly and specifically lie to Congress.

Impeachment hearings anyone?


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