Sunday, December 25, 2005

"Bush Insists on Tools to Fight Terror" (LA Times, 12/20)

From tmorange
Sent Saturday, December 24, 2005 11:50 am
Subject Bush Insists on Tools to Fight Terror (December 20, A1)

Dear Editors,

Edwin Chen and Janet Hook claimed that the "most forceful defense of
the surveillance program" this president made at his Decmeber 19 press
conference "focused on the argument that it was necessary to prevent
terrorist attacks. 'To save American lives, we must be able to act
fast and to detect these conversations so we can prevent new attacks,'
he said, suggesting that courts could not act quickly enough" ("Bush
Insists on Tools to Fight Terror,"
December 20, A1).

What Chen and Hook failed to report was that such a defense is utterly
bogus. The court created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act (FISA) to provide authorization for international wiretaps is
specifically designed to respond quickly to the type of requests in
question. The so-called FISA court regularly authorizes these warrants
within hours and even minutes. Moreover, in the case of "emergency"
situations in which the attorney general deems it necessary to
undertake surveillance immediately, the statute itself allows the
government to obtain a warrant up to 72 hours after starting the
necessary surveillance. Apparently the Times no longer requires its
reporters to fact-check.

"I am doing what you expect me to do," this president also stated.
Wrong again: we expect this president to obey the law that prohibits
spying on its own citizens without a warrent. And to be impeached when
he breaks the law.

No comments: