Saturday, December 17, 2005

Michelle Malkin Watches the Sky Fall...

...on Reasonable Individual Absolutists that are shocked (shocked!) Oh, my! An American President has authorized the NSA to conduct surveillance on Americans suspected of collaborating with Al Qaeda. What surveillance did the Commander-And-Chief of the US military authorize? International calls and emails.

Michelle Malkin has more here:
The Times attempts to create a national uproar over something called a "special collection program" launched by the National Security Agency sometime after the Sept. 11 attacks. The opening paragraphs give the alarming impression that the agency is spying broadly on "Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying."

MTV's alarmist spin is exactly what the Times has intended to foster. It's everywhere.

Those who actually read the piece will note that the paper must grudgingly acknowledge that it is talking about the NSA's monitoring of international communications (e-mails, cellphone calls, etc.) only; the agency still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

And not until the 16th paragraph, some 1,110 words into the massive piece, does the paper tell you the important context in which the program was created and used:

What the agency calls a "special collection program" began soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, as it looked for new tools to attack terrorism. The program accelerated in early 2002 after the Central Intelligence Agency started capturing top Qaeda operatives overseas, including Abu Zubaydah, who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002. The C.I.A. seized the terrorists' computers, cellphones and personal phone directories, said the officials familiar with the program. The N.S.A. surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible, the officials said.

In addition to eavesdropping on those numbers and reading e-mail messages to and from the Qaeda figures, the N.S.A. 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.
The President acted in concert with Congressional leaders of both parties. The program prevented at least one terrorist from carrying out attacks on NYC's principal bridges. A FISA Judge refused to issue warrents to the justice department if any leads came from the NSA's surveillance. And the Individual Absolutists cry police state? They should really put the Kool Aid down and get some air. It would do them a lot of good.

Ms. Malkin has it right. Excessive zeal for the house of civil liberties will leave the walls of security unmanned in the name of "rights." Exactly how many rights will Americans enjoy under Sharia? In four years, no further attacks have taken place in the homeland. Few, if any, Americans have had their rights abrogated in the name of national security. This program struck the right balance between civil liberties and national security. The NY Times' attempt to turn it into yet another Nixonian smear demonstrates once more how idiotic the Reasonable have become.

Btw, is anyone investigating who the Times' sources are? After all, they leaked classified information that could aid the terrorists. After all the mouth-foaming over the Valery Plame affair, would a little consistency be too much to ask of Reasonable MSM? I understand it's only a Foolish request. But wouldn't just a tad bit of consistency help MSM avoid those nasty four-syllable words people can throw around? Like hypocrisy.