December 28, 2005

Cheering for the Wrong Team

Like addicts jonesing for a fix, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the NY Times just can't help themselves:

Defense lawyers in some of the country's biggest terrorism cases say they plan to bring legal challenges to determine whether the National Security Agency used illegal wiretaps against several dozen Muslim men tied to Al Qaeda.

The lawyers said in interviews that they wanted to learn whether the men were monitored by the agency and, if so, whether the government withheld critical information or misled judges and defense lawyers about how and why the men were singled out.

The expected legal challenges, in cases from Florida, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia, add another dimension to the growing controversy over the agency's domestic surveillance program and could jeopardize some of the Bush administration's most important courtroom victories in terror cases, legal analysts say.

If I understand things correctly (and let's be honest, no blogger nor journalist has seen the executive order), the President's order was for national security-related wiretaps, not criminal-prosecution-related wiretaps.

Odds are that all of those terrorists convicted were done so using information from criminal wiretaps obtained via 5,645 requests that were made to FISA courts. This distinction is an important one, and if accurate, utterly undermines the case made by Risen and Lichtblau.

Woe be to Arthur Ochs "Pinch" Sulzberger.

His reporters are putting the paper in a position where casual (and many not so casual) readers are going to think that the Times utter disregard for the nation's security has morphed into grandstanding, even cheerleading support for convicted al Qaeda terrorists, while not offering any support for either the Times long-running political case against the president, nor the terrorist's attempt to slip prosecution by any means necessary.

Karl Rove simply isn't paying him enough.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 28, 2005 12:55 AM | TrackBack

I wonder if these two reporters understand there is a liabiliuty that accompanies their freedom of speech? They do not have a right to jeopardize the safety of hundreds and thousands of innocent citizens because they want to expose classified matters pertaining to national security.

Posted by: Old Soldier at December 28, 2005 07:21 AM

If as you suggest these terrorist convictions were made with evidence provided by information in part provided through FISA court orders then what would the gov't have to hide to a challenge asking them if such was the case?

Nope. It isn't national security at stake here. It's political security for the administration which is their concern.

Do you seriously think terrorists aren't aware that the NSA and every other law enforcement agency and intelligence service isn't using any means legal and otherwise against them? Of course they are. It's US citizens who are unaware of the rules of the game.

Posted by: ArthurStone at December 28, 2005 09:24 AM
If as you suggest these terrorist convictions were made with evidence provided by information in part provided through FISA court orders then what would the gov't have to hide to a challenge asking them if such was the case?

The rather obvious reason is that like any wartime government, this adminstration doesn't want enemy operatives to know that they are under watch and vulnerable. We didn't let the Japanese nor the Germans know we had cracked their communications codes in World War II, ad yet folks like you seem more than willing to expose exactly this same sort of information.

Nope. It isn't national security at stake here. It's political security for the administration which is their concern.

There are none so blind as those that refuse to see. Anyone not completely blinded by partisan politics would see that exposing the existence of a successful anti-terror tool to the enemy, (in a national paper!) is among the worst of natioanl security leaks. The only thing that the NY Times could have done worse would be to expose our weaknesses for terrorists to exploit.

As I explained elsewhere, the adminstration is on firm legal ground, and there is a strong likelihood, (IMO) that FISA, once challenged, will crumble to dust as being an unconstitutional infringement upon the inherent rights of the executive branch to conduct foreign intelligence.

As a matter of fact, I'm predicting just that.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at December 28, 2005 09:56 AM

The Lawyers are just the beginning, The CAIR organization is pressing to have the records released on where the Radiation Detection is taking place under the Freedom of Information Act. Why not just give all the information to the terrorists. I wonder how many more secrets the traitors in the news organizations are going to give up. In my books, they are worse then the terrorists, at least I know the terrorists hate America and are blunt about it. These guys say they do it for America, yea, right.

Posted by: Retired Navy at December 28, 2005 11:08 AM

This situation really does beg for an investigation to determine the source of the leak(s). I don't care what party the leaker(s) does or does not belong to, this is a matter of national security!

Arthur, you really do need to gain some perspective on this issue...

Posted by: Old Soldier at December 28, 2005 11:53 AM

Aldrich Ames....Soviet spy....discovered after the fall of the warrant searches and wiretaps....Clinton DOJ. Thats all anybody needs to know about this nonsense.

Posted by: Ray Robison at December 28, 2005 11:59 AM

Comparing widespread, independent cells of terrorists with nations such as Japan and Germany engaged in an actual state of war with the US is ridiculous. There is no unified chain of command in Al-Qaeda and related groups as there was in our foes in WWII. The cells are secret (many dormant I imagine)and certainly must operate under the assumption that anything and everything they do is likely to be under observation. The analogy you make is false.

And your suggestion that an article in the NY Times would expose our 'weaknesses' to terrorists is ludicrous. They already know that most chemical plants are easy targets. The NSA eavesdrops. Tanker trucks are easy to steal. Containers on ships are vulnerable. Etc. Etc.

Again, the only folks surprised by any of this are US citizens who have had 9/11 and the 'war on terror' turned into GOP electioneering.

Posted by: ArthurStone at December 28, 2005 01:00 PM

An individual terrorist cell with a dirty bomb is more of a threat to this country then Germany was during WWII. Our rights have not been denied to us. Sedition was always illegal and the terrorists here in the states, wether citizen or not, are doing just that. If there is a known terror cell operating and the courts make the government give up how/why/where and when they do the radiaton monitering they will be more effective in their quest to take away a true citizens inalienable right to LIFE.

Any and all of those widespread terror cells need to be watched by any means necessary. If you want to talk dirty to your girlfriend the Govt just won't care. There aren't enough people as it is to worry about the vast majority. There are barely enough to do the job as it is and you on the Left want to slap another handcuff on them. The President is doing his job and I just wish he could go for another term, he'd win by a landslide.

Posted by: Retired Navy at December 28, 2005 01:21 PM

The New York Times belongs next to the National Enquirer. Both publish stories with a "Damn the consequences! Full speed ahead!" attitude.

Posted by: Shoprat at December 28, 2005 01:23 PM

Retired Navy-

Actually looking back over the years at gov't surveillance of US citizens a great deal of effort has been expended on what folks say to their boyfriend/girlfriend. Infiltration and surveillance of such as Martin Luther King and John Lennon back during the cold war were very much concerned with such things. And I doubt much as changed since. Remember the cold war when the Russians were our enemy and the end of civilization moments away? Big, big thhreat and still the FBI, CIA had plenty of time for fun and games.

But your joke about a Bush landslide is really funny. Depends on when the Diebold machines go nationwide I expect.

Posted by: ArthurStone at December 28, 2005 01:29 PM

I wasn't talking about Clinton having his political foes monitered or Monica watched, as for the Cold War, ever hear of the Cuban Missile Crisis? We were close there and a few other times. I admit, it would be great to live in your Nirvana world with pretty clouds and chocolate streams but the truth of the matter is, there really are bad guys out there. OUR President is trying to make sure they don't come over here by any means at his disposal. He is doing his best and I, for one, am glad Gore didn't get elected, or Kerry for that matter. Next fear is if Billory gets in there again. They screwed up enough, we don't need any more of them.

Posted by: Retired Navy at December 28, 2005 01:53 PM

A.S. what planet are you from? I served my country Faithfully and continue to serve today. If you believe we are not "At War" with radical Islam, I would like for you to go to Bahgdad or Western Pakistan wearing an I Love the U.S.A. T-shirt waving an American flag,I can guarantee you will find out WE ARE AT WAR. Germany and Japan had opperative's in this country during WWII and the Gov't surveiled them with wire tap's and listened to there radio transmissions, then they used that information to protect our citizens. As far as the NYT they have made it their sole purpose in life to deride this President at every turn. So, frankly I as well as most other sensable people, I could really care less what the NYT has to print. As previously posted, if you do not have anything to hide, you have nothing to worry about. I am at a loss to understand why the left is so opposed to the way this administration is handling the GWOT. When I joined the military(which obviously you didn't) I took an oath "To Support and Defend The Constitution of The United States Against ALL Enemies Foreign and Domestic". The President is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and he took the same oath, to protect all citizens of this country and that includes you and everyone else. Personally I sleep better at night knowing that My country is doing "Whatever it Takes" to ensure my friends and family are safe. If you don't agree with that renounce your citizenship and move, That's another right that you have...

Posted by: Faithful Patriot at December 28, 2005 02:21 PM

Okay. What makes you all think that because you rally around the President those that disagree hate America? I love america - because it's FREE. What's the most basic freedom? What is this country founded on? FREEdom from government. This whole attitude - that if you have nothing to hide it shouldn't bother you is total BS. You can trust them lots, that's great, I don't. Not Clinton, not Bush. I do enjoy one thing that I've seen going on - people saying it is okay because Clinton did it. What a bar to set.
As for the leakers, they're actually called whistleblowers. And I have no problem with government employees speaking up when they think our government is doing something unconsitutional. FYI - the NYT sits on stories all the time for the sake of protecting Americans. The first step you all need to take is to realize we ALL want to be safe, we ALL want to protect americans (unless you think AS is al Qaeda - in which case I'm glad he's posting online and not plotting against us). I personally agree that democracy in the middle east is the surest long term solution to them demonizing the West.

Posted by: OchsAlly at December 28, 2005 05:42 PM

Faithful Patriot-

If I don't like it renounce my citizenship and move? 'Whatever it takes'? I think not.

Says who? You?

I pay my taxes. I vote. Last time I checked the current administation hadn't completely revolked freedom of speech. Perhaps you should learn a little more what are values & rights really are.

Blind obedience is not one of them for many. My self included.

Posted by: ArthurStone at December 28, 2005 07:09 PM

Artie, Artie, Artie ....

There is such a thing as freedom of speech, but that does not include reactionaries like you who yell FIRE in a crouded theater when there is no fire at all. You continue to yell and scream that George Bush violated the law, when literally hundreds of genuine legal scholars have said that you are wrong.

You are not an expert on Constitutional Law, nor am I. Unlike you, however, I DO respect the expertise of the experts - not someone who just blows smoke and makes ludicrous, unfounded accusations.

As for OchsAlly's assertion that the persons leaking the information were no more than whistleblowers, he obviously knows nothing whatsoever about the federal laws governing the protection of classified information and the penalties for unlawful disclosure. I DO know the penalties and the definitions from 36 years as an employee of the NSA.

Bottom line: neither of you knows squat, pure and simple.

Posted by: Retired Spy at December 28, 2005 08:30 PM

Anyone notice Hillary Clinton missing during all of this NSA business? Seems like she's come up with a new 'Southern Strategy' to gain the ear of the southern voter.

Posted by: machs at December 28, 2005 11:13 PM

'Hundreds' of legal scholars have NOT come forth and indicated Mr. Bush is correct. Back in April 2004 the man himself said eavesdopping and electronic collection of intelligence would not take place without court order.

Now he's saying something different.

And spare me the lecture of shouting fire in a theatre. Disagreeing with gov't policy lawfully is anything but.


Posted by: ArthurStone at December 28, 2005 11:46 PM

Once again, Artie, you do not have a leg to stand on when making vague references to what George Bush said on April 20, 2004.

In the quote you and your leftie friends have cited as 'evidence' of criminal activity and/or intentional deception, you fail to show where the president was referring to the process of gathering foreign Intelligence. It was not mentioned at all, nor was the NSA. The president was referring to the Patriot Act and FBI wiretaps.

Once again, for those who cannot read simple English, the NSA does not do wiretaps - the FBI does wiretaps.

No wonder the Donks are doing so poorly in the public opinion polls on this issue. In fact, more that 64% of Americans are in favor of the president's actions to conduct surveillance on foreign al Qaeda targets - even if some include communications with persons inside the U.S. That is pretty impressive when one considers the number of MSM boneheads that do not know the law, use quotes incorrectly or out of context, or quote the likes of CNN's Jack Cafferty as an unimpeachable expert in Constitutional Law - and who are so dumb that they confuse electronic signal surveillance with wiretaps.

Just in case the lefties need a reading comprehension refresher course, you can find the exact text of what Bush said in 2004 as follows:


Posted by: Retired Spy at December 29, 2005 01:39 AM

A.S. I agree with you and others that we as Americans have the right as individuals to agree or disagree with what our government and its policies, that is what the framers intended. I as well as you vote,pay taxes. But, there comes a time that "WE THE PEOPLE" need to stand behind our government and it's policies and proceedures. I wore the uniform of our great country and I can tell you from experience that there is NOTHING more gutwrenching and detrimental to the troops than having the media and the talking heads lam.bast what is percieved as their Commander in Chief trying to help them WIN... Some will say that I am blindly following this President, Let me say this so everyone can understand.. Those young men and women over there need all of our unwavering support, they were sent over there to protect our freedom and way of life. If I were younger I would be over there with them. If anyone thinks that our way of life has not been effected since 9/11 they are not in touch with reality. After 9/11 I saw all the flags and our country united. What happened? Ah, alas we went back to sleep.....

Posted by: Faithful Patriot at December 29, 2005 07:06 AM

Retired Spy:

The president said one thing in April 2004 regarding intelligence gathering and quite a different thing in 2005. That is the truth.

And Faithful Patriot the Iraq war is the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. And that is the truth.

Happy New Year.

Posted by: ArthurStone at December 29, 2005 06:15 PM

I'm sorry, CY, but Artie appears to be as dense as a box of stones.

Posted by: Retired Spy at December 29, 2005 06:22 PM

You obviously did not bother to actually read the reference I provided, Artie - probably because of your stubborn refusal to examine the facts. Nothing whatsoever was mentioned in that talk that referred even vaguely to intelligence gathering. The FISA was not mentioned, nor was surveillance of foreign Intelligence or the NSA mentioned. The president was talking about chasing down terrorists physically inside the United States where the FBI - not the NSA - does wiretaps with court-approved warrants.

You can't handle the truth, Artie. You don't even recognize it when it slaps you right in the face.

Do you have a clue about anything?

Posted by: Retired Spy at December 29, 2005 06:40 PM

I hope both reporters, and the staff of the NY Times along with those members involved in linking this data are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. After that I hope they are subjected to annual audits by the IRS.

Posted by: TJ Jackson at December 30, 2005 11:40 PM

The paper and reporters may be protected because they didn't actually divulge the information, they just reported it. (before you say anything I believe they are boneheaded twits who were way out of line). However, the one that actually leaked the info, once caught, should face the highest charges he can be prosecuted under.

Posted by: Retired Navy at December 31, 2005 11:35 AM

Just curious:

What would Bushco. have to do before you would take exception to it? Schiavo, Torture, Gitmo, WMDs, Downing Street Memo, wiretaps, PNAC-- nothing fazes you faithful.

He is above suspicion as far as I can tell from your comments, but you would never be so gullible in other areas of your life. Why here? Why now, when America needs you so badly?

Seriously, what would it take for you to say "hey, wait a minute Mr. Bush!"

Posted by: child at January 2, 2006 08:06 PM