The right-wing Heritage Foundation has staked out the usual territory on telecom immunity and changes to FISA. The rule of law must be sacrificed or the terrorists will have won – no note of irony is acknowledged in their position. They even link to this post at Firedoglake which they have made the tiresome choice to label hysterical. If one surgically removed a dozen words from the Conservative vocabulary they’d be unable to utter much on any issue.There is something of a bizarre rebuttal, The Substance-Free Progressive Position on FISA, January 28, 2008 2:56 pm, Protect America
If US intelligence agencies were forced to follow pre-August 2007 FISA law, 100 government officials would have to work year round complying with FISA’s individual warrant requirements for the thousands of foreign to foreign communications they monitor. NSA General Counsel Robert Diaz told Congress: “My concern is analyst time. And the issue that most concerns us is counterterrorism experts and analysts do not grow on trees. And every time I’ve got five or 10 or 15 or 20 counterterrorsim experts working on FISA factual issues, that’s time when they’re not trying to stop the enemies of the United States.”
They link to another Heritage post that says matter of factly,
Each FISA application requires approximately 200 person-hours of government attorneys’ and other intelligence officials’ time for each telephone number intercepted. Only about 100 persons are being monitored in the United States, but this alone requires the equivalent of full-time service of ten government attorneys or other intelligence officials just to prepare the FISA applications.
Actually current law has a spy first get a warrant later provision and it is not necessary once warrant is obtained for government attorney’s to keep filing untold mountains of legal briefs to continue surveillance. Grown men who claim to have cornered the market in regards to serious debate on national security and they resort to factually bogus exaggerations ( Of course the ever wacky Michelle Malkin links to that article without question). In an article titled The Intelligence Community Needs Clear—and Permanent—FISA Reform the authors at The Heritage actually argue that any wrong doing done by corporations should be over looked if they do so because, well the president asked them to. (I will not link to the soft-fascism of the Heritage, but generally should any reader be inclined to do so, if you copy and paste the article title into Google it will be in the first few results). Glenn Greenwald reminds us in Bush’s own words that FISA has been amended and updated, “takes account of the new realities and dangers posed by modern terrorists” and “will allow surveillance of all communications used by terrorists, including e-mails, the Internet, and cell phones.”
At the link Glenn also notes that the far Right and some members of the MSM are claiming that FISA will expire. One is tempted to call this an incredibly juvenile argument, but juveniles can at least claim youthful ignorance. The Heritage, the right-wing blogs and the MSM are allegedly being written and edited by adults so there is no excuse for making shrill paranoia laden with excesses of partisan back biting the bulk of their position on telecom immunity and Bush’s extension of PAA.
The PAA’s amendments to FISA — but not FISA itself — expire on February 2 and, due almost entirely to the behavior of the White House and their GOP Congressional followers, it seems unlikely that a new law can be in place by that date. On Thursday, Mitch McConnell blocked votes on all amendments, all but forcing the Democrats to filibuster today in order to prevent a final vote before those amendments can be considered. And, after refusing for months to allow House members access to any documents relating to the programs they’re supposed to vote on, the White House announced last week — just days before the PAA expires — that they will finally allow Representatives to review tens of thousands of new documents.
The House hasn’t been allowed access to documentation they need to make an informed decision. Does that sound more like the old Soviet Politburo or the co-equal branches of a democracy at work.
James Carroll sums of the entirety of Bush’s SOTUs, Our one-way trip to disaster
YOU AND everyone you love are riding on a large bus. The bus driver, unskilled and careless, drives too fast, ignores traffic signals, and barrels off the road occasionally. Because the bus is huge, other vehicles swerve to get out of its way, with cars crashing repeatedly. But your driver just keeps going, leaving carnage in his wake. Naturally, you are terrified – but your reactions are irrelevant.
Finally, the bus itself crashes, killing many. Miraculously, you and your loved ones climb out of the wreckage. A second bus is standing by, and you gratefully scramble aboard. The engine starts up, but then the bus lurches dangerously onto the road, going too fast. Only then do you see that this new bus has the same driver, and he has learned nothing. Welcome to the United States of America. And welcome to the annual State of the Union address.
Bush and the Conservative movement are like the mental case that walks in a continual circle thinking that if they repeat the same steps over and over again they will somehow get somewhere. They circle consists of two basic premises, even though 9-11 happened on their shift do what they say or you’ll die and they’ve found a way to run the government and expand its powers without ever paying for it. Rinse and repeat.
“We need to restore America’s leadership in the world, and we truly need a new direction in Iraq,” Pelosi said.
“Our first goal as a country must be to restore that moral authority,” which has “suffered grave damage,” Reid added. When Bush delivers his State of the Union address Monday night, “he can start by announcing America does not torture,” the Senate Democratic leader said.
“Democrats call on him to support one standard of interrogation for the entire United States government, to renounce waterboarding and to finally commit to closing Guantanamo.”
Reid referred to a harsh interrogation technique that simulates drowning and that reportedly has been used to extract information from key suspected terrorists captured after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Why the copious flow of lachrymal fluid, my garrulous canine? ~ Daffy Duck