Posted by Curt on 12 May, 2006 at 10:16 am. Be the first to comment!

The same kind of numbers are being generated in the polls today:

A majority of Americans initially support a controversial National Security Agency program to collect information on telephone calls made in the United States in an effort to identify and investigate potential terrorist threats, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The new survey found that 63 percent of Americans said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism, including 44 percent who strongly endorsed the effort. Another 35 percent said the program was unacceptable, which included 24 percent who strongly objected to it.

A slightly larger majority–66 percent–said they would not be bothered if NSA collected records of personal calls they had made, the poll found.

Underlying those views is the belief that the need to investigate terrorism outweighs privacy concerns. According to the poll, 65 percent of those interviewed said it was more important to investigate potential terrorist threats “even if it intrudes on privacy.”

As the polls indicated after the last NSA leak to the press. But the left continues on with this facade of indignation all in the name of power. They want the power of Congress back and they will stop at nothing until they achieve it. Last year the State Department listed just a few of the terrorist attacks that were averted by the NSA program, and other Law Enforcement agencies:

1. The West Coast Airliner Plot: In mid-2002 the U.S. disrupted a plot to attack targets on the West Coast of the United States using hijacked airplanes. The plotters included at least one major operational planner involved in planning the events of 9/11.

2. The East Coast Airliner Plot: In mid-2003 the U.S. and a partner disrupted a plot to attack targets on the East Coast of the United States using hijacked commercial airplanes.

3. The Jose Padilla Plot: In May 2002 the U.S. disrupted a plot that involved blowing up apartment buildings in the United States. One of the plotters, Jose Padilla, also discussed the possibility of using a “dirty bomb” in the U.S.

4. The 2004 U.K. Urban Targets Plot: In mid-2004 the U.S. and partners disrupted a plot that involved urban targets in the United Kingdom. These plots involved using explosives against a variety of sites.

5. The 2003 Karachi Plot: In the Spring of 2003 the U.S. and a partner disrupted a plot to attack Westerners at several targets in Karachi, Pakistan.

6. The Heathrow Airport Plot: In 2003 the U.S. and several partners disrupted a plot to attack Heathrow Airport [outside London] using hijacked commercial airliners. The planning for this attack was undertaken by a major 9/11 operational figure.

7. The 2004 U.K. Plot: In the Spring of 2004 the U.S. and partners, using a combination of law enforcement and intelligence resources, disrupted a plot to conduct large-scale bombings in the U.K.

8. The 2002 Arabian Gulf Shipping Plot: In late 2002 and 2003 the U.S. and a partner nation disrupted a plot by al-Qa’ida operatives to attack ships in the Arabian Gulf.

9. The 2002 Straits of Hormuz Plot: In 2002 the U.S. and partners disrupted a plot to attack ships transiting the Straits of Hormuz.

10. The 2003 Tourist Site Plot: In 2003 the U.S. and a partner nation disrupted a plot to attack a tourist site outside the United States.

Remember that Ohio truck driver that was caught working with Al-Qaeda? Do you recall how he was caught?

An Ohio trucker has admitted to helping plan al Qaeda attacks in the United States after meeting terror chief Osama bin Laden at an Afghanistan terror training camp.

Iyman Faris, 34, checked out the chances of destroying a New York bridge and tried to buy equipment for proposed al Qaeda attacks while appearing to be a law-abiding trucker, according to documents unsealed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Faris pleaded guilty May 1 to providing material support to al Qaeda and to conspiring to do so, according to the documents. The charges together carry as much as 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.

[…]In communications to al Qaeda, Faris was told to refer to gas cutters, which would be used to burn through the bridge cables, as “gas stations” and tools for the derailing as “mechanics shops.”

Faris researched the bridge on the Internet and asked a friend about how to obtain the gas cutters. He also traveled to New York to check out the bridge and evaluate the chances of a successful attack.

In coded messages, sent to his al Qaeda handlers via an unnamed third party in the United States, Faris said he was still trying to obtain “gas stations” and “mechanics shops” — or he was still working on the project.

After scouting the bridge and deciding its security and structure meant the plot was unlikely to succeed, he passed along a message to al Qaeda in early 2003 that said “the weather is too hot.”

Yes, by listening to the man make calls FROM the United States to Al-Qaeda. The American people know this stuff works.

Take another example, Jeffrey Battle:

Homegrown terrorist Jeffrey Leon Battle considered America the ?land of the kaffirs,? or unbelievers, and the American people ?pigs.?

He once lamented to an acquaintance?who happened to be a government informant?that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks did not sufficiently damage the U.S. economy.

?This is the land of the enemy,? he said of his own country in a May 8, 2002, conversation secretly recorded by the government. He explained to a friend how his ?burning desire? to become an Islamic martyr had inspired his aborted quest to join forces with al Qaeda in Afghanistan, where he could kill American troops.

Battle, now 35, is serving an 18-year prison sentence for conspiring to wage war against the United States, a crime to which he confessed and pleaded guilty.

So according to all these polls the American people understand that the wiretaps and the data mining works. What do get from the Democrats in Congress?

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: Only through the press, we begin to learn the truth. The secret collection of phone call records tens of millions of Americans. Now, are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al-Qaida? If that’s the case, we’ve really failed in any kind of a war on terror.

Can anyone really be this ignorant? This should tell you what will happen if they take the House, nevermind the danger to our country. Nevermind that data mining telephone numbers is not a 4th Amendment issue. Nevermind that listening in on Al-Qaeda calling the US is a power granted to the President under the Constitution.

Nevermind that all this protects our country against a enemy that wishes us destroyed.

Instead we get hyperbole from Leahy and others. Other’s like our MSM:

At least now we know that the Bush administration’s name for spying on Americans without first seeking court approval — the “terrorist surveillance program” — isn’t an exercise in Orwellian doublespeak after all. It’s just a bald-faced lie.

Imagine if Bush was not approving the operations to listen in on Al-Qaeda, to data mine phone numbers, and an attack happened. Who would be the first on every single channel screaming that Bush didn’t do enough to protect us? The Democrats. James Lileks put it much more eloquently then I did on Hugh Hewitt yesterday:

HH: Speaking of hardwired for nonsense, listen to this:

Patrick Leahy: Are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al Qaeda? If that’s the case, we’ve really failed in any kind of a war on terror.

JL: Yeah.

HH: He goes on to say of course not…

JL: I know. I heard it. Exactly, because we all know that on 9/12, what President Bush said, I want you to collect as much useless information as you can and devote all of our resources to just looking at it. And then, putting out the little naughty bits that may be scintillating later, because that’s what we’re really all about. This is nonsense again, because what they’re telling you, essentially, is that the Democratic platform is not to do any data mining, any sort of pattern matching. They want us to connect the dots, but they do not want us to collect the dots. The dots should apparently just walk up and volunteer, here I am. I’m a dot. And that’s the extent of the War On Terror.

I made the point at the beginning of this post to shed some light on what would happen if the Dem’s got control of the House. This is just a little taste of what would happen:

71 House Democrats signed up to sponsor a move that would make it illegal for the NSA to continue to monitor terrorist phone calls.

The liberal web site Raw Story reported Thursday:

“The 71 Democrats and one independent filed an amicus brief in two federal courts reviewing challenges to the warrantless wiretapping program in Detroit and New York, joining the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights.”

“Both suits demand the program be stopped.”

Predictably, Michigan Democrat John Conyers led the charge:

“As our brief makes clear, this Congress dealt with this issue authoritatively almost 30 years ago – warrantless spying on American soil is flatly prohibited,” he railed.

But this time they would be in the majority. Just imagine the consequences. Neil Cavuto is imagining it:

(…) I don’t like the government secretly collecting records of ordinary Americans’ phone calls. But I don’t like ordinary Americans dying either. Just like I don’t like being frisked before I get on a plane. But I guess it’s better than risking a bad guy getting on that plane.

(…) Such are the times in which we live, where we have to live with inconveniences that can border on the hysteric.

(…) I don’t know. I do know that we haven’t been attacked on our soil in nearly four and a half years. I suspect because we’re watching more, listening more and yes, tapping more.

(…) Trust me, all this fuss over freedoms would fade in a mushroom-cloud moment if there were another attack on our soil. The problem is that the longer we go from the last attack on our soil, the more we seem convinced there won’t be another attack on our soil.

(…) I am not for creating a police state. I am for creating a safer state. A place where those who whine and moan can have a day to whine and moan and to read about it in the next day’s headlines. Better to read them there than in the next day’s obituaries.


The fact that going on 5 years we have not had one terrorist attack on our soil means nothing to the Democrats. Do they think this is all a coincidence? It’s because Bush promised to protect us anyway he had to, and he has kept his promise.

UPDATE

Just found this wonderful blog, The Other Side, which explains in detail why we need this data mining program.

I don?t know much about a lot of stuff, but I know a great deal about databases and how to use them?and I especially know a great deal about how to manage usage of terrabytes of data.

[…]The reason they?ve been collecting this data since 9/11 was because someone at NSA was being really, really smart: if terrorists are communicating by phone, it?s possible to establish linkages between numbers, and install pattern-recognition software to collect those linkages. And the reason that this was a smart thing to do is a simple one: the phone company doesn?t store this data beyond (maybe) a few years?the amount is just too massive to hold forever?and lest we forget, we?re coming up on the 5th anniversary of 9/11 already.

Note that none of this requires any names, nor the content of the calls?that would be the privacy of the thing, and that?s where it seems that the NSA, if they?re telling the truth, has been quite circumspect.

But what this data gives the smart analyst is that when you establish that (357) 243-3006 belonged to Abdul El-Bomba, who received a call from his brother Aziz, a known member of Hezbollah in Syria, you now have the ability to focus only on all the calls Abdul made and received, to see who was calling him and whom he was calling. That would be a couple hundred calls, out of the (literally) tens of billions of records you?ve collected.

Here?s the Big Clue for the Clueless: if you don?t collect all the data, you can?t narrow the search at all. And it?s only once you?ve established that Abdul is a Bad Guy that you ascertain his number, and the numbers of his correspondents, and their names. Most of the calls will be innocent: the dry cleaners, the gas company, the liquor store, whatever.

But out of the couple hundred calls, you may find five that are to Mohamed Semmteks, and to Tariq Pilota, who are also terrorists, and whose calls you can now start investigating.

So from tens of billions to a couple hundred to five. And in these cases, it?s NOW when you, as the investigator, can get a warrant for a wiretap so you can start listening to actual content, which, out of all the data mentioned so far, is the only part protected by the First Amendment.

That?s how to do it?and more importantly, that?s the only way to do it when you?re starting from scratch.

A wonderful, concise explanation of how this program works and why we need it.

UPDATE II

The Brits have learned what happens when you don’t listen in on the bad guys:

The suicide bombers who killed 52 passengers on London’s transit system had a string of contacts with someone in Pakistan just before striking, Britain’s top law enforcement official said Thursday.

However, authorities admitted they didn’t know what was discussed in those contacts and stuck with their contention that the blasts were a home-grown plot and that the degree of involvement by al-Qaida, if any, was unknown.

Thursday’s report by the Intelligence and Security Committee concluded that intelligence agents had been alerted to two of the suicide bombers before the attacks but limited resources prevented them from uncovering the plot.

UPDATE III

Recall that the only telephone carrier that would not comply with our Governments request to hand over their telephone number records was QWEST.

The attorney for former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio said in a statement Friday that Nacchio refused to turn over the private telephone records of Qwest customers to the National Security Agency after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks because the program didn’t have legal backing.

He stands by his principals doesn’t he? Ahem….

Nacchio faces 42 counts of insider trading in connection with selling $100 million of Qwest stock in the first five months of 2001. He also faces a slew of investor lawsuits and has been sued for civil fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

What a stand up guy.

Other’s Blogging:


This should tell you what will happen if they take the House, nevermind the danger to our country. Nevermind that data mining telephone numbers is not a 4th Amendment issue. Nevermind that listening in on Al-Qaeda calling the US is a power granted to the President under the Constitution.

Nevermind that all this protects our country against a enemy that wishes us destroyed.

Instead we get hyperbole from Leahy and others. Other?s like our MSM:

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