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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.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Seventeen to One Isn't a Bad Record ...

... so why isn't the media reporting it? An excellent question to be sure. As yet, only one outlet--the New York Sun--has recognized this accomplishmnent. Oh, the record? It belongs on the president's side of the argument, and that debate is over the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program:

In at least 17 criminal cases, federal district judges nominated to the federal bench by presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush have ruled against requests to force the government to tell defendants, most accused of terrorism-related crimes, whether the NSA eavesdropped on them without a court warrant.
The rulings indicate that even as public support for the war in Iraq has eroded in polls and as the NSA program has come under criticism from congressional Democrats, and even some Republicans, federal judges may be a bulwark that the Bush administration can rely on to defer to at least some aspects of its wartime policies.

The judges' decisions have come after defense attorneys filed motions requesting access to relevant surveillance intercepts that the government obtained without a warrant. Defense attorneys claim they are entitled to such information and that evidence obtained from warrantless wiretaps is tainted and inadmissible at trial. In many, but not all instances, the motions were filed after a conviction.

Individually, the judges' orders, often very brief and rarely providing explanations, indicate little. Taken together, however, they signal that the judges are unwilling to permit defense attorneys to use prosecutions to force disclosures about the program.

The legality of the NSA program is being litigated in several civil lawsuits across the country. In one case, a district judge in Detroit, Anna Diggs Taylor, ruled in August that the program was unconstitutional, a decision that the government has appealed. Legal observers dispute whether even a ruling by the Supreme Court that the program is unconstitutional would lead to the overturning of criminal convictions in which the program played a role in securing evidence or targeting the defendants.

This story comes courtesy of Captain's Quarters. It's impact, however, isn't being felt by as many people as it should. In only one case did the NSA program not stand up to jurisprudential muster. And that would be the case where Jdueg Diggs-Taylor injected her own, personal beliefs into the case, rather than weighing it on the merits of the law. It's quote obvious in that case--as the kids covered it--that she had her own activist axe to grind. Her decision, however, was immediately stayed by the Sixth Circuit Court, pending a review and likely reversal.

The NSA program has been upheld by the courts in a clear refusal of the courts to challenge the authority of the president. And for all the liberals out there, no it's not fear. It's respect for the powers of the president when it comes to matters of national secuirty. He is the Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the United States, and the NSA is connected to the military in a de facto state; they do provide military intelligence information, and have always been headed up by a military officer. Their power falls squarely withint he confines of the executive branch of government.

And it's working like a well-oiled machine. This program has helped in the capture of more than one sleeper cell, and in countries other than our own. the NSA program helped break up the Canadian terror plot, and the plot from England, affectionately dubbed Operation: Bojinka II by the blogosphere. To say that this program wasn't effectiuve is a lie. To say that this violates the rights of citizens is a lie.

Should a US citizen be suspected of collaboration in a terror plot, the government must still take steps to protect thie rrights. That means going before the FISA court to obtain a warrant. There are provisions within the Patriot Act that allow them to bypass that for a short time only; as US citiznes, we still have rights. BUT for those not citizens--whether here illegally, on student or work visas, or even travel visas--there are not such protections, and they are open to being surveilled. Again, there are "hoops" we have to jump through, such a probable cause, but they don't have the protections against such surveillance like we do.

The outrage over Judge Diggs-Taylor's outlandish decision swept through the media--both new and old--like a wildfire, and it had it's share of critics on both sides of the aisle. Cass Sunstein, noted law professor from the University of Chicago, stated on the record in an interview with Hugh Hewitt that in the scope of power, the poresident was well within his jurisdiction to enact the program, and added that it was quite legal. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Sunstein, he has written over thirty different legal textbooks, and is considered "the go-to guy" when it comes to Constitutional Law. If anyone would know, he would, and he is correct in ways that make liberals seethe.

But the coverage of the ONE case that the NSA program failed to meet ONE judge's standards received a hundred time more press than the seventeen other rulings upholding it. That is quite telling from our point-of-view. And it shows the abhorant bias of the media.

Sabrina McKinney


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