Lying Media Bastards

August 20, 2006

The Devil’s in Wiretapping the Details

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Last Thursday, a federal court judge ruled that the Bush administration’s warantless wiretap program was unconstitutional. Which it clearly was. Brave conservatives everywhere stepped up to defend the program– by slandering the judge, trying to paint her decision as one biased her own political agenda. This, of course, is a ubiquitous, timeless debate technique: “my arguments are based upon pure logic and reason, while my opponent’s are based upon personal feelings.”

By now, pundits and “serious news anchors” are talking about this “blow” to a “key program” in the “fight against terrorism.” It’s not, of course. The ruling simply says that the Bush administration has to comply with the FISA law. Which says that the NSA can do exactly what it did under the Bush program, except that within three days of starting to wiretap someone, they have to get a warrant. In a court which is very lenient and nearly always grants them.

That’s it. There’s your “blow”: you wiretap someone’s phone, and within 72 hours someone has to go before a friendly judge and explain why you wanted to eavesdrop on their calls. You don’t face much scrutiny, you don’t even need to get a warrant in advance. The Bush crew feels that even that minute amount of oversight is an affront.

What this decision was a blow to was the Bush administration’s “we’re above the law” legal theory. Y’know, the one that says that Bush’s constitutional duty to protect the United States of America is top priority, and any law or legal decision that he claims undermines his ability to carry that out is therefore unconstitutional (well, can be ignored, anyway). They trotted that out for this court challenge, and the judge didn’t buy it. Hooray for common sense.

Tell all that to your conservative crybaby friends.

Posted by Jake on August 20, 2006 5:07 pm

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