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The Necessity of Wiretapping Terrorist Suspects

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:12 pm - January 6, 2006.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America,War On Terror

Clark Baker, a fellow Bear Flag League Blogger and retired LA cop, who blogs at Ex-Liberal in Hollywood has an excellent post up today on the necessity defense to the charges against the president for eavesdropping on terrorist suspects in the wake of 9/11. While he doubts the president “committed any crime,” he offers a defense of the president if the Administration had indeed violated wiretapping laws in this case. As the folks at Powerline have shown in a number of posts (especially this one), the president was on solid legal ground in signing off on this program. Indeed, a number of news sources, including bloggers, have detailed the extent to which the Administration consulted with attorneys and tweaked the program to make sure they were working within the “boundaries of the law.”

Clark defends the president in the case that he exceeded those boundaries, noting that unlike scandals involving Presidents Clinton and Nixon respectively, President Bush “wasn’t covering up a sexual harassment lawsuit or dispatching IRS investigators to audit his political enemies.” He was acting to protect Americans from future terrorist attacks. Clark has “found no reports where wiretaps have harmed innocent Americans” and notes that “these wiretaps have helped the United States thwart Al Qaeda attacks.” Importantly, he asks:

Can President Bush reasonably believe that its commission was necessary to avoid a harm or evil to Americans greater than that sought to be prevented by law?

That is the real question which the president’s critics should have addressed before they begin comparing him to Nixon. And now that I’ve whet your appetite, I strongly encourage you to read the whole thing.

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11 Comments

  1. Am I the only one who is seeing the top half of the page as red?

    Comment by Carl — January 6, 2006 @ 7:54 pm - January 6, 2006

  2. Sorry, Carl! I was tweaking the sidebars and messed up some code. My bad.

    Comment by GayPatriot — January 6, 2006 @ 8:10 pm - January 6, 2006

  3. I want to know why we’re still letting the liberals play games with our national security.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 7, 2006 @ 1:07 am - January 7, 2006

  4. TGC in #3, I think it has something to do with the liberal direction of the MSM.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — January 7, 2006 @ 1:15 am - January 7, 2006

  5. If the Bush Administration believed that these wiretaps were necessary to protect the security of the United States I don’t have a problem with the wiretapping. I do have a problem with the Administration’s refusal to make the wiretaps clearly legal by going to the FISA secret courts within 72 hours of the wiretaps.

    Comment by Jack Allen — January 7, 2006 @ 1:19 am - January 7, 2006

  6. Um, Jack, click on this link to read a legal rationale for the president’s decision. Note especially the letter linked in their update.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — January 7, 2006 @ 1:25 am - January 7, 2006

  7. It’s entirely possible that FISA was inapplicable for several reasons:

    (1) FISA as a whole may be unconstitutional. (Limits the President’s Constitutionally inherent power and duty to protect the nation, including appropriate surveillance.)

    (2) On its own terms, FISA excepts itself (from being applied) when and where Congress has authorized military action against a foe, which Congress did against al Qaeda after 9-11.

    (3) On its own terms, FISA excepts itself from being applied, where communications originating or ending physically outside the U.S. are monitored by (NSA) equipment physically positioned outside the U.S.

    The important question: did the Bush administration restrict the monitoring to communications plausibly related to al Qaeda? (E.g., calls to a U.S. citizen in an al Qaeda contact list, or calls with an al Qaeda agent.) On current information, the answer appears to be “yes”.

    The next important question: Who leaked this valid, critically important national security program? When are they going to be punished?

    Comment by Calarato — January 7, 2006 @ 2:57 am - January 7, 2006

  8. So let me see if I understand, it is okay to break the law, if done in the interest of national security. Is this not a slippery slope? What happens when Pat Robertson and James Dobson implore the head coke head to investigate the finances of all “suspected subversives.” And we all know who falls into this class of American. Frankly, this president is creating a false scare for an overwhelmingly stupid republic.

    Comment by ralph — January 9, 2006 @ 4:45 am - January 9, 2006

  9. Let’s put it this way, Ralph; one of these days you’ll figure out why the American people won’t vote for you, even after you denigrate their religious beliefs and their intelligence.

    Or perhaps you’ll be sitting there and it will come to you as you practice your speech: “You people are stupid superstitious morons. Let me rule over you instead!”

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 9, 2006 @ 11:07 am - January 9, 2006

  10. Isn’t that exactly how our head cokehead is acting today? I would much prefer a President that lays out a better vision and inspires hope and greatness. But that may be asking too much from today’s current batch of politicos, R and D alike.

    Comment by ralph — January 9, 2006 @ 11:24 am - January 9, 2006

  11. You have really done a good job on this. Keep it up!

    Comment by Bills Baseball Bats — January 26, 2006 @ 9:11 pm - January 26, 2006

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