Friday, February 15, 2008

Had Enough Fear Mongering?

We have conflicting pieces of information.

Here's Mike McConnell:

Some have claimed that expiration of the Protect America Act would not significantly affect our operations. Such claims are not supported by the facts. We are already losing capability due to the failure to address liability protection. Without the act in place, vital programs would be plunged into uncertainty and delay, and capabilities would continue to decline. Under the Protect America Act, we obtained valuable insight and understanding, leading to the disruption of planned terrorist attacks. Expiration would lead to the loss of important tools our workforce relies on to discover the locations, intentions and capabilities of terrorists and other foreign intelligence targets abroad. Some critical operations, including our ability to adjust to dynamic terrorist threats that exploit new methods of communication, which sometimes requires assistance from private parties, would probably become impossible. And the difficulties we face in obtaining this essential help from private parties would worsen significantly if the act expires or is merely extended without addressing this issue. Without long-term legislation that includes liability protection, we will be delayed in gathering -- or may simply miss -- intelligence needed to protect the nation.

Now, here's Richard Clarke:

Let me be clear: Our ability to track and monitor terrorists overseas would not cease should the Protect America Act expire. If this were true, the president would not threaten to terminate any temporary extension with his veto pen. All surveillance currently occurring would continue even after legislative provisions lapsed because authorizations issued under the act are in effect up to a full year.

Simply put, it was wrong for the president to suggest that warrants issued in compliance with FISA would suddenly evaporate with congressional inaction. Instead - even though Congress extended the Protect America Act by two weeks - he is using the existence of the sunset provision to cast his political opponents in a negative light.

For this president, fear is an easier political tactic than compromise. With FISA, he is attempting to rattle Congress into hastily expanding his own executive powers at the expense of civil liberties and constitutional protections.

Finally, here's the oft-maligned Nancy Pelosi, showing some spirit:

The President is misrepresenting the facts on our nation’s electronic surveillance capabilities. Last August, he insisted that Congress pass the Protect America Act; but this week, he refused to support an extension, which can only mean he knows our intelligence agencies will be able to do all the wiretapping they need to do to protect the nation. That surveillance can be undertaken under broad orders authorized under the PAA or under orders that can be obtained through the FISA court.

The President knows the facts; if he did not want the PAA to expire this weekend, he should have supported an extension of it, as the overwhelming majority of House Democrats did on Wednesday. Having guaranteed the lapse of the August law, the President should now work in a cooperative way with Congress to pass a strong FISA modernization bill that protects our nation’s security and the Constitution.

Now, who are you going to believe?

I told a friend last night that we now live in a banana republic, and even the bananas are indignant about having to put up with this shit.


You can sense that Andy isn't ashamed to let the pee run down his leg...

FISA: High Noon at Midnight Friday [Andy McCarthy]

In today's article, I catalogue some of the problems with the Senate bill which would overhaul FISA — while explaining that the bill absolutely must be passed by the House or our foreign intelligence collection is going to collapse. It would be unconscionable for Democrats to allow that to happen while our nation confronts an enemy hell-bent on reprising 9/11 and while we have 200,000 men and women in uniform relying on the continuing flow of information from our intelligence services.

Well it looks like the unconscionable is about to occur. I am hearing from several sources that the House is planning to recess on Friday without taking up the Senate bill. That would mean the lapse of our surveillance authority at midnight.

This is a game of roulette with our national security, spearheaded by the Democratic leadership in the House, which is following the lead of the party's two presidential contenders, Sens. Obama and Clinton. Both of them voted against the emergency authorization last summer, and Obama voted against the Senate bill on Tuesday (Clinton did not bother to vote). Make no mistake. The crowd is calling the shots on that side of the aisle.

President Bush has to keep pounding this, as does Sen. McCain. This is not politics, folks. For grown-ups, this is life and death.

Uh huh, uh huh. So, Ummmm....why the veto Andy? Huh? Why, if this was so goddamned important, did he veto it? Telecom immunity isn't going to mean a hell of a lot if the terrorists do their dirty work, is it?

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