Although I belong to the school of thought that says the government knows too much about us, I join James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal in saying, “Thank You for Wiretapping, Mr. President.”
“The usual assortment of Senators and media potentates is howling that the wiretaps are ‘illegal,’ done ‘in total secret,’ and threaten to bring us a long, dark night of fascism. ‘I believe it does violate the law,’ averred [Senator Russ] Feingold on CNN Sunday.
“The truth is closer to the opposite. What we really have here is a perfect illustration of why America’s Founders gave the executive branch the largest measure of Constitutional authority on national security. They recognized that a committee of 535 talking heads couldn’t be trusted with such grave responsibility. There is no evidence that these wiretaps violate the law. But there is lots of evidence that the Senators are ‘illegally’ usurping Presidential power–and endangering the country in the process.
Bill Kristol and Gary Schmitt also argue the legal points, but it is their practical point that is most memorable:
“Consider the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, the French Moroccan who came to the FBI’s attention before Sept. 11 because he had asked a Minnesota flight school for lessons on how to steer an airliner, but not on how to take off or land. Even with this report, and with information from French intelligence that Moussaoui had been associating with Chechen rebels, the Justice Department decided there was not sufficient evidence to get a FISA warrant to allow the inspection of his computer files. Had they opened his laptop, investigators might have begun to unwrap the Sept. 11 plot. But strange behavior and merely associating with dubious characters don’t rise to the level of probable cause under FISA.”
But I am enjoying this controversy. It will not help the left