Mensch tracht, un Gott lacht

Monday, January 16, 2006

A Very Gory Opportunism

Ex-everything (senator, vice president, sane person) Al Gore seized the occasion of Dr. Martin Luther King Day to excoriate the Bush administration by comparing its wiretapping of terrorist phone calls to the government's spying on MLK's personal life in the '60s.

Mr. Gore forgot to mention it was not a power-mad fascist Republican, but modern lefty saint Bobby Kennedy who authorized it.

Must have been an oversight.

Source Material Addendum:
"At the outset, let me emphasize two very important points. First, the Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the President has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General."---Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick, July 14, 1994


(Mr. Gore must have been out sick that day.)


Jay D. Homnick said...

Yes, there was oversight - by the Democratic Congress of that time including, presumably, the late Senator Al Gore Sr.

Jay D. Homnick said...

For Connie, a partial list of things that Bush has done wrong.

1) Blew the relationship with Senator Jeffords and cost the Republicans a Senate majority for two years.

2) Left the same stupid wet-foot Cuba policy where refugees are repatriated if they don't make it to shore.

3) Has completely ignored the immigration problem; in fact, he has actually made the border patrols weaker. This is bad government and bad politics, not to mention dangerous.

4) Has continued a completely hypocritical policy of saying that the U.S. must never negotiate with terrorists while insisting that Israel must kowtow to terrorists and accede to their demands.

5) Has shown an almost comical level of disengagement from, if not downright ignorance of, the political situation in South and Central America, which is becoming more dangerous to the United States with each passing day.

6) Has not really made a move (not that Clinton did either) to limit our dependency on oil or to improve the terms under which we acquire it.

7) Has not had the courage to fight environmentalists over their stranglehold on the building of new oil refineries.

8) Has not figured out approaches to getting the middle-of-the-road person in America to see him as a "uniter, not a divider".

I'm just warming up. But I can't even begin to count the ways in which he is better than the alternative.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I understand (but do not agree with) absolutism as to the privacy of communications, but only in the abstract, as a slippery slope argument.

I was quite aware during the Clinton administration, of Echelon, the Colossus: Corbin Project-like omni-computer that sees and hears all. And we all should have been aware of the administration's championing of the Clipper chip. This is old news.

I mention this because I was cool with all that back then, and after 9/11, which was designed and is seen my many as a clarion call for worldwide jihad, am cool with the NSA program now.

Partisan? Moi?? I'm objecting to Gore's cynical co-opting of MLK Day. I'm objecting to Gore's own partisan chickenspit at this late date.

There were some who were opposed to Clinton's Big Brotherism at the time, but I think it's fair to say their response was muted. Certainly Gore's was, back when not listening in on you and your daughter was an abstraction, a matter of principle, not survival.

Now that there's a Republican administration, and even after 9/11, the segment of the population that today feigns outrage seems to me to be almost entirely partisan. It is for them I reserve my ire.

Read Ms. Gorelick's arguments in the link I so thoughtfully provided, which passed without much comment at the time. Her record is mixed in clarity of thought as to how best to preserve the physical integrity of the republic, but at least on that day, she was nice and sparkling clear.

(And Bobby Kennedy had everything to do with it. If he perceived a threat to the republic over MLK's vague commie ties, spying on the contacts of terrorists hardly seems an overreaction. Just asking for a little empathy here, an empathy that the gleeful Mr. Gore is loath to extend.)

Tom Van Dyke said...

"...almost entirely..."

Meticulously selected weasel words to leave wriggle room for rare jewels like yourself, Connie. And Bob Barr, of course.

The rest are indeed hypocrites. They do not believe in that which they themselves profess.

Hunter Baker said...

When it comes to the wiretapping issue, I've always felt that he who has done no wrong has nothing to fear. I've got no bombing plans to protect, so they can listen for mentions of bomb, bombing, explosion, and every other synonym without riling me one bit.

I think the opposition here is hypocritical because we'd all be for it after a couple more attacks.

James F. Elliott said...

The Gorelick quote is entirely irrelevant. FISA was not amended to include physical searches among the searches eligible for retroactive warrants until 1995. In fact, that's what she was testifying about - the state of the law before 1995. Please note that 1995 comes before 2001, for the calendar-impaired.

Any references to the 1991 search of Aldrich Ames' house or Gorelick's testimony have no bearing on the legal standards in operation from September, 2001 to today under which the Bush Administration is supposed to operate. Nice try, no cigar for you.

Further, Bush's "excuses" make no sense. If there was any indication that any American was "talking to al Qaeda," then that American falls under FISA, and the executive could begin wiretaps and/or searches and then apply for the retroactive warrant within three days. Nothing in the excuse-making follows.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, the FBI has revealed that the NSA, under Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, sent them thousands of tips to follow up on. Of these thousands of wiretaps, they say, most led to dead ends or innocent Americans. Of the few terrorists they actually led to, the FBI already knew about them from other sources. FBI officials state that the warrantless wiretapping program was given priority by Bush, and that it pulled them away from what they considered far more promising counterterrorism work.

George W. Bush. Making America less safe by the illegal wiretap.

Jay D. Homnick said...

James, much as I hate to help the opposition, if you need a slogan it's patent: The Bush Enchaining Administration.

Tom Van Dyke said...

But Bob Livingston and Newt Gingrich did pay for their hypocrisy.

"In the opening moments House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston (R-Louisiana), who was embarrassed earlier this week by the disclosure of past extramarital affairs, made a stunning announcement that would not run for speaker and would quit the Congress.

Livingston called on Clinton to follow his example and resign as president. "I can only challenge you in such fashion if I am willing to heed my own words," Livingston said..."