Posted by Curt on 8 August, 2007 at 9:48 am. 5 comments already!


The coward Markos Moulitsas from KOS is now calling the Democrats who voted on the FISA bill cowards:

For a bunch of people who want to strut around acting "tough", this crowd sure ran around like a whipped puppy once Big Bad Mr. 25% said "boo!" Scary!

Of course this is shameful and ridiculous, but it’s also a helpful reminder that our efforts to transform our Democratic Party continue to be a long-term project. 

Typical line of reasoning with these idiots.  Terrorism is all made up, its done to scare everybody so big brother can come in and take away our liberties. 

These people take tin hats to the nth degree.

Meanwhile Pete Hoesktra took a baseball bat to the New York Times recent editorial in which they claim the same thing as Markos:

It has been my practice not to deal with the New York Times after its recklessness in repeatedly disclosing highly classified intelligence programs to enemies who seek to attack our nation and because of what I believe was a lack of honesty and integrity in its dealings with me as Chairman of the Committee at that time.

However, I believe that your editorial this morning “The Fear of Fear Itself”, and an article that ran yesterday purporting to describe legislation to clarify the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) I supported in the House of Representatives to address an urgent intelligence gap so mislead the American people as to require urgent correction.  The only real basis for “fear” here is the scare tactics being perpetuated by the Times, which has knowingly and willfully misrepresented the new law to scare the American people.

Before moving to a point-by-point rebuttal based on the actual text of the new law, extensive experience with FISA, and knowledge of the actual facts at issue not available to the Times, I would like to also address two broader points.  First, the legislation was intended to address significant and substantial intelligence gaps that have arisen at a time of enhanced threat of terrorist attack on the United States.  The need for the bill was urgent and obvious.  DNI McConnell repeatedly emphasized that “we are missing a significant portion of what we should be getting” to detect and prevent terrorist attacks.  Bipartisan recognition of the need for this bill is why it passed both the House and the Senate so quickly.

And the recently released key judgments of a National Intelligence Estimate clearly emphasized that the United States is in a time of enhanced threat from Al Qaeda, which still is planning “high-impact plots” “likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets with the goal of producing mass casualties.”  Had we not passed this law and an attack not been prevented, I’m sure that the New York Times would have been first in line to criticize the failure to “collect the dots”, much less to “connect the dots”.
Second, it is unfortunate that you so completely disregard the professional judgments of DNI McConnell, other Intelligence Community professionals, and even indications from judges of the FISA Court itself that this legislation was urgently needed to close intelligence gaps and better focus the FISA process on protecting the civil liberties of Americans instead of radical jihadists overseas.  Director McConnell – who served as NSA Director under President Clinton – deserves praise for repeatedly emphasizing that FISA reforms must balance intelligence speed with the civil liberties of Americans.  His personal involvement and guidance of this process at every step were critical to making it happen, and he deserves PRAISE for his effectiveness and professionalism instead of ugly personal attacks.  There is no evidence whatsoever that any alleged “agreement” was reached with congressional Democrats, and there is no cause to smear Admiral McConnell based on hearsay.

He then goes on to go through the editorial point by point, well worth the read.

While lefties like Russ Feingold and Markos wish to ignore the Constitution they are finding it increasingly difficult seeing as how most lawmakers and citizens recognize the folly in their efforts.  Andrew McCarthy

But the president, at least, had an excuse. Actually, not a mere excuse but a trump card. We call it the American Constitution. It empowers the chief executive to conduct warrantless surveillance of foreign threats. Even the FISA Court of Review, the highest, most specialized judicial tribunal ever to consider FISA, has acknowledged this. So did the Clinton administration when FISA was amended in 1994. In the United States, the “rule of law” first and foremost is the Constitution.

The president’s constitutional authority is inviolable; it cannot be reduced by mere legislation. When Congress passes a statute, like FISA, that purports to reduce the president’s constitutional authority, it is Congress, not the president, that is trampling the rule of law. A president who ignores such a statute is not a law-breaker; he is a defender of the highest law. He is executing the responsibility vested in his office by the Framers who, as Alexander Hamilton observed in The Federalist No. 73, worried deeply about “the propensity of the legislative department to intrude upon the rights, and to absorb the powers, of the other departments.”

But let’s leave that aside for a moment. Whether you agree or disagree with what I just argued, it is incontestable that, under our Constitution, the president has a role, a plenary role, according to the Supreme Court, in the gathering of intelligence against foreign entities for national-security purposes.

The courts, to the contrary, have no such role. The Framers did not give them one, and the Supreme Court has acknowledged that they are institutionally incompetent to be brought into the intelligence-gathering equation, much less to manage it.

It is thus not the Constitution that has inserted judges into the intelligence-gathering business. If the Constitution were being honored, they’d be out of it. They are in the equation for one reason and one reason alone: Congress unwisely (and, I believe, unconstitutionally) interposed them when it enacted FISA.


So, what caused our present national-security crisis? A judge on the FISA court outrageously ignored the FISA statute. And it’s not the first time. And, whenever it happens, the purpose is to vest our enemies with more “rights,” not to protect our nation from those trying to slaughter us.

Understand this point. It’s crucial. The president has a right to ignore the FISA statute if it conflicts with the higher duties that are assigned to him by the Constitution. The president has an obligation to safeguard the American people against foreign attack, including strikes ordered by al Qaeda supervisors overseas, who give direction to terrorists embedded here, as they did in the run-up to 9/11. You can argue that he has overstepped his authority. You cannot credibly argue that he is without a colorable basis for doing so.

By contrast, the judiciary has no such authority. None. The FISA court has no constitutional responsibility to manage intelligence-collection. The Framers would be spinning in their graves over the mere suggestion of something so preposterous. If the court has a proper role, an enormous if, that role absolutely cannot be any broader than what Congress has prescribed in FISA. It could very well be less. If, as I contend, Congress overstepped its bounds in enacting FISA, the role of the courts could be either nonexistent or something less than FISA designed. It can, however, in no event be greater than what is laid out in FISA. 

But we still get judges who wish to become legislators and we get legislators who wish to become President.  None of them can trump the Constitution and as Andy stated above, that document plainly and clearly spells out that the President has the DUTY to protect us against foreign enemies and that means gathering intelligence from foreign enemies.  Common sense has seemed to have departed from the brains of these lefties, either that or they care little for the Constitution.

I’m betting it’s the latter excuse.

These people would be screaming from the ends of the earth if and when another attack comes and out intelligence agencies did not know about it because they had to wait for a FISA warrant to listen in on Ahmed from Pakistan calling Homer inside our borders.  How many have to die because of this warrant?  FISA was enacted at a time when we had the worst President to ever sit foot inside the White House capitulating to terrorism.  It’s nothing more than a deliberate self-cripling of our nations intelligence at a time when that intelligence is more vital than our stock of nuclear weapons or nuclear submarines.

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