.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Rather Inept Low Blow

The WaPo decided to jump on the Ahabist bandwagon, and post up an editorial about the NSA program blown by the New York Times. It's cited below. My commentary is intermixed. (All emphasis is mine.)


As we learn more about what was going on under the Bush administration's secret surveillance program, it's clear the National Security Agency has developed some powerful new tools against terrorist adversaries. That's all the more reason these innovative spying methods should be brought within the rule of law -- so that they can be used effectively and legally.

The piece is written by David Ignatius, and he shows his lack of legal knowledge when it comes to the italicized quote. These methods are well within the law. Had Ignatius actually done a bit of research, far more Constitutional scholars agree that the president has this power than those against the use of such power. Further, do more research, and Ignatius might have found out that surveillance of the American puhblic wasn't confined to Republican presidents. This power existed for Democrats long before any of their socialist heroes.

That should be a New Year's resolution for Congress and the administration: Amend our laws on surveillance to establish a framework for using these new techniques of collecting and analyzing information. Because the issues are so sensitive, part of that debate may have to be secret, but that's an inevitable part of legislative oversight of intelligence.

It sure is, but it's too bad that the New York Times blew the lid off this one, huh? So much for secret. And this is why I side with John Eastman in stating that the Times committed a crime in releasing this information. USC 18, Section 793 speaks of this. It doesn't prevent the story from running, however it does assign a punishment for doing what the Times did. Over the course of the last three months, or so, the MSM has blown the lids off of more covert operations than I can count in the last twenty years. We have people within the government that likes to talk to the press? Time to shut them down.

The challenge in the coming debate will be to find the right balance between national security and civil liberties. The loudest arguments will come from those who see the issue in black and white -- who want to tilt in one direction, toward security or liberty. But those won't be the wisest arguments. America is in for a long struggle against terrorism, and it will need sensible rules that embed necessary intelligence activities firmly within the law.

Security and liberty in exchange for rights? What sort of frelled up argument is that. There is no debate in this as the president isn't breaking the law. He's within it, and I doubt Mr. Ignatius can cite the one instance where an abuse of civil liberties occurred. I'll give you a hint: It didn't happen under this program. It happened under the Patriot Act, and it was tossed out of court for a lack of merit in the complaint. What Mr. Ignatius, the Left-leaning MSM, and the "Defeatocrats" either don't get or don't know is that this isn't targeting American citizens unless they're a part of a terrorist cell, or connected to a member of a cell. The administration is abiding by the laws as they apply to citizens of the nation not as foreign of another country!

We know only the barest outlines of what the NSA has been doing. The most reliable accounts have appeared in the New York Times, the newspaper that broke the story. Although the headline has been "warrantless wiretapping," the Times accounts suggest the program actually was something closer to a data-mining system that collected and analyzed vast amounts of digitized data in an effort to find patterns that might identify potential terrorists.

Reliable? The New York Times, reliable? LOLOLOLOL.That's a good joke. Ignatius and his New York Times puff-party need to move along to the Improv. I'd rather use copier paper as bird cage liner as opposed to the Times. The Times reliability has been floundering for years, and took a nose-dive over Jayson Blair and Howell Raines. The Times putting this story ont heir front page showed every subscriber in America that they are siding with the Defeatocrats in releasing classified information. Not only doesn't the Times get it, they think that the terrorists will welcome them with open arms.

Here's what James Risen and Eric Lichtblau said in their original Dec. 16 story, explaining the origins of the program after Sept. 11, 2001: "The CIA seized the terrorists' computers, cellphones and personal phone directories, said the officials familiar with the program. The NSA surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible, they said. In addition to eavesdropping on those numbers and reading e-mail messages to and from the al Qaeda figures, the NSA began monitoring others linked to them, creating an expanding chain. While most of the numbers and addresses were overseas, hundreds were in the United States, the officials said."

Does Ignatius think that the only logistical support for the terrorists over here lie abroad? He doesn't think citizens and non-citizens could be sympathetic to the jihad? How stupid is this man? Does he know whether or not these people are in contact with one another? Is he aware of those that the terrorists have been in contact with. This paragraph shows just how clueless the MSM is in this war. To them, EVERYONE in America is automatically allowed Constitutional protections as long as an "R" isn't next to their name. The same goes for the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a crime. And unfortunately for us "R" people, they want the terrorists under that protection umbrella.

The Times reporters explained details of the program in a Dec. 24 story: "NSA technicians, besides actually eavesdropping on specific conversations, have combed through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might point to terrorism suspects."

The heart of the program may be this effort to find links and patterns. William Arkin explained in a Dec. 23 posting in his washingtonpost.com column, Early Warning, how the data-mining process might work: "Massive amounts of collected data -- actual intercepts of phone calls, e-mails, etc. -- together with 'transaction' data -- travel or credit card records or telephone or Internet service provider logs -- are mixed through a mind-boggling array of government and private sector software programs to look for potential matches."

No kidding. Did he actually think that we had HUMINT pouring over this? That happens after the program has broken down as much as it can. There is nothing wrong with this program. If there is, than Clinton's got a lot to answer for in ECHELON, which monitors close to one million electronic communications mediums in about two minutes.

This is the kind of innovative technology the government should be using, with appropriate safeguards. It employs computer algorithms to discern patterns that would probably be invisible to human analysts. It searches electronically amid the haystack of information for the one dangerous needle. In the phrase that was often used in the scathing Sept. 11 post-mortems, it seeks to "connect the dots."

Aside from Congressional oversight, which is the ultimate check over the executive branch, what other special safeguards does Ignatius want. Oh, and by the way David, that's called an amendment to the Constitution. Good luck getting that 3/4s majority in the Congress and the States. You're outnumbered by the people in the nation who see nothing wrong with this surveillance program. Know why? We're not being targeted because we're not doing anything wrong, and we've got no ties to terrorists.

The legal problems, as Arkin suggests, involve the dots -- what digital information can the government legitimately collect and save for later analysis, and under what legal safeguards? As it trolls the ocean of data, how can the government satisfy legal requirements for warrants that specify at the outset what may only be clear at the end of the search -- namely, specific links to terrorist groups? These and other questions will vex lawyers and politicians in the coming debate, but they aren't a reason for jettisoning these techniques.

I love how the MSM puts people up that have little grasp of the Constitution. The president's powers originate in the Constitution. Aside from an amendment (again, good luck) or Congress cutting funding (again, the ultimate check against the executive branch) you've got little chance in stopping this; that especially after the lawyers finish arguing, and the courts deal with the issue. Thus far, they have always come down on the side of the presidency.

America's best intelligence asset is technology. The truth is that America has never been especially good at running spies or plotting covert actions. Our special talent has been the application of technology to complex problems of surveillance. That kept American intelligence in business during the Cold War, and it provides our thin margin of safety against terrorism. It's all the more important now, when al Qaeda's hierarchical structure has been broken and the emerging threat comes from flat, invisible networks of intensely motivated people. How will we see these new terrorists coming?

Never good at running spies. Was Ignatius asleep during the Cold War? Our spy rings during the Cold War worked just fine, thank you. Had it not been for the incompetence of Bill Clinton, and his inability to understand that the intelligence business can be a dirty game, involving dirty players, we might not have had an 11 Sept. We might have been able to infiltrate them, and eliminate the threat before it reared it's ugly head.

America needs surveillance and analytical techniques that can connect the dots. But even more, it needs a clear legal framework for this effort. Otherwise it won't be sustainable. In that sense, continuing the current lawless approach would be the true gift to the enemy.

Ignatius needs to join half the Defeatocrats for a remedial course in the Constitution. The framework has been in place for 229 years. It's still there. And it's been ruled on; as recently as 2002, and the executive branch won. The powers of the president during wartime are nearly unlimited. As a matter of fact, should another 11 Sept. occur, the president--under a declared emergency--has the authority to suspend the Constitution. He hasn't done that yet, despite the rantings and slobberings of the conspiracy moonbats. The Constitution is alive and well, no thanks to the Defeatocrats, and their willing minions--like David Ignatius--in the MSM and editorial boards across the country.

Publius II


Post a Comment

<< Home

weight loss product