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Friday, January 20, 2006

Tommy Weighs In On Surveillance

I think Tommy of Striving For Average has more experience than most other people in these matters, and I think he has laid out the issue of the surveillance "wiretapping scandal" as he sees it very clearly and simply. I too would be shocked if this sort of thing were not being done.

Freedom is not abstract in such circumstances. For every such measure that we omit, internal controls will have to be tightened. Thus, to some extent, given what I know, I think that the surveillance as described by the NY Times is not a giving up of freedoms but a defense of them. But Tommy says it best:

I expect the communications of the enemy to be monitored. All of the communications of the enemy. The fact that the enemy is communicating with people within our borders does not in the
slightest change that. Maybe I’ve spent more time around collection type assets than the average person, but I confess I was shocked to learn that people were surprised this was going on. If the program was monitoring domestic communications with persons other than Al Qaeda and associated groups, that is something different. But as of yet, I have heard nothing to suggest that was the case.

There is another, much larger reason why I am prone to dismiss all of this as so much rubbish. The people who leaked this, knowingly leaked a classified program. What that means is, you aren’t going to get any sort of adequate denial response, because to do so would require also leaking classified information. No point in increasing the damage just for sport.

This is not a game. People have died and will continue to die, and like Tommy, I suspect that to some this is considered a political game. I am deeply, deeply offended by that.

Update: Liberal Larry weighs in with an eloquent elegy to Al Gore:
Al Gore’s powerful oratory Monday was not only a testament to the skills of his lesbian manliness coach, but a righteous roar of rage against Bush’s wholesale destruction of our most fundamental civil liberties. For the past six years, Gore has sat quietly by while Republicans furiously chipped away at the Bill of Rights. However, the news of Bush’s domestic spying program was the last straw, and as a patriotic American War Hero he was duty bound to stand up and say, “Enough is enough!”.

Bush continues to deny that he has done anything wrong and insists that he will only eavesdrop on the telephone conversations of people who are “a threat to national security”. But that could describe just about any liberal Democrat in Congress. ... And what of the thousands of legitimate calls to and from terrorists every day? What if you or I were to simply dial Osama Bin Laden’s number at Crawford by mistake? Does that make us terrorists? Does that negate our rights as American citizens?


lesbian manliness coach is one of the funniest lines I've heard in a while.
Most of the lesbians I know are more manly than Al. A lot, lot saner too.
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