Monday, February 06, 2006
Just remember as you watch the hearings that Congress is a player in this too. They want the power.

Comparing Nixon surveilling anti-war protesters with Bush surveilling Islamic terrorists is ridiculous.

Besides, Hillary will do what she wants anyway...all those FBI files were illegal too.

Corruption is bound to happen in any administration at various levels. What we do is find it and prosecute it. We can't prosecute corruption if we're dead. And if we're dead, corruption doesn't matter anyway.

I heard Gergen the other day just SURE, absolutely POSITIVE, that domestic spying will commence on political opponents and be used for smears. How unserious is that? He's continuing the overreaction Congress delivered in the '70's (an overreaction that needs a course correction right about now).

There's all kinds of domestic spying done by political operatives. They don't need the NSA to do it. The internet, financial institutions, legal papers, and a good PI are all that are necessary.

I started watching the hearings today, then got so angry I looked for something else. '24' was on. Perfect.


Buddy Larsen said...

Heard Gergen say that, too. Jeez--what a great vote of confidence in the Gov't, huh?

David Thomson said...

David Gergen teaches at the vastly overrated Harvard University’s School of Government. To be blunt, this so-called esteemed educational institution is something of an intellectual whore house. One must go along to get along. Slutting on behalf of the Democratic Party is its unofficial motto.

Knucklehead said...

Heh, comeon, give Gergen a break, willya? The guy works, as DT pointed out, for the Harvard School of Government. Part of the HSoG's charter is, "Make the world safe for progressive ideology but making the US government unsafe for anti-progressive ideologues."

The poor guy is just trying to do his job. How would you like to have the job of trying to put up a rhetorical case against the NSA anti-terrorist listening posts? Pretty thin gruel to try and make an appetizing dinner from.

Like Gergen you'd have little choice but to try and make the case that we shouldn't be doing this eavesdropping 'cause sooner or later it'll we be used agains "political opponents". And, in fact, he knows it will be. He works for HSoG. Half his coworkers are seditionist One Worlders running around the halls blathering revolutionary inanities and the other half are bound and determined to wrest control of the government back into Democrat hands where they will gleefully use any and all means available against their political opponents.

Rick Ballard said...

Well, I can't watch the hearings because the sight of 'Scot's verdict' Specter running things puts my TV in peril.

The question (as Syl noted in her first sentence) is how hard the legislature is going to clutch their oversight perogatives in war time. The courts will put the question aside until it reaches a certain "maturity" (such as when no action they take could possibly be held against them) but the legislature generally doesn't have the sense to do so.

Reporting on these hearings is going to be slightly "colored" by POV so I think I'll wait for transcripts to become available. Aside from watching for quotes from Slow Joe and Leakey.

Buddy Larsen said...

"Rule or Ruin!" is supposed to be a pejorative, isn't it?

Fresh Air said...

I thought Morkus was banned.

Knucklehead said...

Rob Long, over at NRO, has a bit of fun with the NSA Wiretap. With his typical style he demonstrates what should be listened to and what shouldn't.

Syl said...

Actually, if we, the American people, have any sense, we will NOT demand that FISA be re-written.

We will simply accept that the Executive has the power to do this under the Constitution and in conjunction with the Resolution to use Force.

If FISA is rewritten, then it will be legal for time immemorial.

But, worse, it will do as FISA was originally meant to do, hamper the executive in carrying out his obligation to protect the American people. There will be barrier after barrier and more i's to dot and t's to cross than are necessary.

FISA was written in the spirit of discouraging its use. Those who say FISA is a rubber stamp have only got it half right.

FISA is a rubber stamp only for those cases so damned serious that the JD is willing to write 75 pages of required material in order to get a damned warrant.

And I didn't know that tons of written stuff and approval needs to be obtained even before an emergency wiretap can commence! Now what was that about 72 hours again? It's a lie.

FISA was always meant as a deterrant. It's there just in case maybe someday some surveillance might be absolutely positively for sure necessary.

As I've said several times, the overreaction in the '70's and the hamstringing laws that resulted are a danger to the republic.

Let the Big Course Correction Begin!!

Syl said...

Let the Big Course Correction Begin!!

or at least continue with the renewal of the Patriot Act.

I wouldn't make this legal under FISA but I would lessen ALL the restrictions somewhat.

Syl said...

I think I'll start a new political platform called the anti-Privacy party!

Privacy demanded in the bedroom, refrigerator, medicine cabinet, and under the sink ;)

Other than that, my life is an open book. Read me!

terrye said...


Plenty of folks will join.

I missed Gergen and will do my best to continue to do so. I have to admit that I don't watch this kind of thing much anymore...a little bit of CSpan goes a long way.

As to whether or not the government will end up spying...that is silly. If they want to they will whether or not FISA passes a law. What difference will make some paperwork make to people who have no respect for the law? And if they do indeed have respect for the law and are doing what they say they are doing, then what are these chicken littles carrying on about?

This suveillance is limited and if that is not good enough for these paranoid nutters, I don't know what to tell them to make them feel any better.

Buddy Larsen said...

"I don't know what to tell them to make them feel any better"

"Good morning, President Gore" ?

flenser said...

"My concern is for peaceful Quakers who are being spied upon, and other law-abiding Americans and babies and nuns who are placed on terrorist watch lists," Leahy said.

I won't call him the enemy, but I will call him insane, deranged, and unhinged.

terrye said...


I read that and thought statement by Leahy and thought "this has to be a mistake. No one would say that."

Honest to God, these guys do not need hearings, the more we see them....the less we like them...the less we want them...as time goes by.

terrye said...

that should read, the statement by Leahy. Oh well Preview is for obsessive compulsives.

Knucklehead said...

From Jed Babbin, in Getting with the NSA program at The American Spectator:

Last week, DNC Chairman Howard Dean said, "President Bush's secret program to spy on the American people reminds Americans of the abuse of power during the dark days of President Nixon..." It is only the most fevered liberal brows and the willfully ignorant -- in both of which categories Dr. Dean consistently fits -- who can make such an irrational and irresponsible comparison. As Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan) wrote to Dean on Friday, "Any suggestion that a program designed to track the movement, locations, plans or intentions of our enemy -- particularly those that have infiltrated our borders -- is equivalent to abusive domestic surveillance of the past is ludicrous. When Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson approved the electronic surveillance of Martin Luther King, those Presidents were targeting American citizens based on activities protected by the First Amendment. When President Richard Nixon used warrantless wiretaps, they were not directed at enemies that had attacked the United States and killed thousands of Americans." Unlike the Deanocrats, Roberts understands the differences between illegal searches that violate the Fourth Amendment and wartime intelligence gathering.

The NSA program is not intended to detect and punish past crimes. It is an intelligence program, designed -- like every such signals intelligence program has been since a telegrapher rode with Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry to give Stuart the benefit of intelligence gleaned by tapping into Union lines -- to discover the enemy's plans. NSA isn't wiretapping massive numbers of Americans' private conversations. It is listening in only to conversations in which at least one party -- and many times both -- are outside the United States and have been identified as connected somehow to al-Qaeda. Senior Justice Department officials told me on Friday that the program is carefully limited to that, and excludes all else. What NSA is doing, under presidential order, is gathering intelligence by listening to al-Qaeda communications between and among its commanders and operators overseas as well as those people in the United States who talk to them.

The program, according to these officials, works by detecting where the calls originate (at least by country) even where, as in too many instances, a cell phone is used from abroad that has a U.S. area code and number. Many of the intercepted conversations only pass through American fiber-optic lines and switchboard exchanges and have no one in the territorial U.S. participating at all.

The NSA operation is not a violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act because the president, as the courts have held, has the power to order warrantless surveillance of this type -- outside of FISA -- to gather intelligence. FISA is used, according to the Justice Department officials, whenever both sides to a conversation are in the United States.

Knucklehead said...

Ummm... Is that an actual Leahy quote? He didn't really say that, did he? Those poor Quakers and nuns! How long has the roundup been going on?

terrye said...


Most people I know expect the government to do this and would be upset if they were not.

I remember after 9/11 when it came to light that the hijackers had lived here and taken flying lessons in the US and even gone to the government for financial assistance.

The reaction was "Why wasn't anyone paying attention to these people?" They were not happy with the fact that the privacy or civil liberties of Atta were more important than the safety of the American people.

Besides the Democrats forget that it was a long time ago when people asked what Nixon knew and when he knew it. I think we baby boomers are wearing out our welcome with these constant references to bygone Republican scandals. It strikes a lot of Americans today as tiresome.

terrye said...


I read that Leahy said that. I can not remember where I read it now. It might have been polipundit. It does sound bizarre does it not?

Syl said...

Gee, Leahy should have added 'puppies' to his list. He's slipping.

Knucklehead said...


Puppies and children! We must think of the children and their puppies!

BTW, it was a bad move on his part to mention the nuns. Those of us who grew up with nuns as teachers are fully convinced that they should be monitored very closely and locked up at the first possible opportunity.

Knucklehead said...


I went over to Polipundit to see if I could find the Leahy stuff you mentioned. I didn't find that, I found something even worse (and even stupider).

Buddy Larsen said...

Sen. Leahy is despicable, he'll say anything, he cares not a fig for facts.

Rick Ballard said...


Do you mean:

"The Bush Administration knew the names of the hijackers before 9/11."

That's true for a couple of the hijackers if we are to believe the Able Danger story. It would be more correct to say "Both the Clinton and Bush administrations" and it would be even more correct to say "but could do absolutely nothing about it because of the Gorelick wall and FISA."

Specter, Leahey and Rockefeller are doing the administration a great service. No one in their right minds could watch those guys and consider entrusting anything to do with security to them.

The "World's Greatest Deliberative Body" with Bozo as ringmaster is simply not reassuring.

The more history about the Senate that one reads, the more one becomes convinced of the existence of a providencial hand.

RogerA said...

Gergen went south when he went to work for Clinton--highly overrated in the first place, and proved conclusively therewith he was just a twit. Or as our friends at DU and the Kossacks say, "a Media Whore"

terrye said...

I saw that quote flenser is talking about. It was Leahy babbling about nuns and babies and Quakers. I can't find it now. It is one of those things that is so absurd you almost wonder if it is a hoax or something.

But hey, the guy has been a Senator for years and years so who knows what he might say?

Luther McLeod said...

This situation is being used to further pander and provoke fear and loathing among the far left wing of the party. I've come to the conclusion that the whole exercise is for the benefit of Demo fund raising. Unfortunately I have no excuse/motive for some of the Republicans who are leading the committee. Tough reelection battles coming up I suppose.

One other thing that gets my goat, every story written re this matter, via my local fishwrap, usually under an AP lead, begins with the first words of the sentence being "Bush's domestic spying program." They are no longer bothering to mention the OBL or GWOT aspect.

I am convinced that the AP is a seditious organization that wishes to see the downfall of this country. Sorry for the rant.

Peter UK said...

When you think of Associated Press,think election workers gunned down to order

Luther McLeod said...

Head on nail, Peter.

Buddy Larsen said...

They've been as exposed as they're ever gonna be exposed--all the agenda media has--and yet on they carry, on and on and on. Like punching the Pillsbury Doughboy.

ex-democrat said...

Leahy's hysterical blather is reported here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060206/ap_on_go_co/eavesdropping_congress_12;_ylt=AolmiZisltmvt8T_2gl8vl7B4FkB;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

flenser said...

Link to loony Leahy

Peter UK said...

Babies? What do the security people do,go through their nappies ro see if they are loaded?
This man is overdoing the Diazapan!

Buddy Larsen said...

Peter, congrats on the London hate-speech verdict!

Peter UK said...

If it were not for our Human Rights legislation,Hamza would be hanging somewhere in the Middle East.
One thing we should imsist on is mountebanks like Hamza are not allowed to masquerade as Sheiks and Imams.