Saturday, December 24, 2005

FISA is enangering our liberty--it must be repealed 

If this is true, than the FISA process is clearly broken, and it just points out why Congress shouldn't be trying to infringe on POTUS (President of the United States) powers by introducing impeding processes.

I've been over why what the President did is already okay, but this just shows that he had ample reasons not to jump through Congress' hoops, even if that might have been more politically expedient. National security is above politics. I'm glad at least the President sees that.

This article at the Weekly Standard lays out why FISA is broken very well. The article confirms that FISA probably stopped us from detecting the 9/11 plot, and it goes even farther in saying that we weren't able to detect a Chinese spy leaking our nuclear warhead designs because of FISA. Read the whole thing, but here's a great excerpt:
the Federalist would argue during the ratification debate that "energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government" and that "decision, activity, secrecy and dispatch" were qualities only a unitary and independent executive could provide.

It's no surprise then that it is precisely these qualities that we see in President Bush's decision to go around FISA in the wake of 9/11 and to order the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless surveillance of emails and calls going back and forth from suspected al Qaeda operatives abroad to the United States, and vice versa.
The Founders, in the words of The Federalist, did not think it was wise or even possible to set a "limitation of that authority which is to provide for the defense and protection of the community." At the end of the day, a government has to do what is necessary to protect itself and its people. Yet, at the same time, the Founders believed in limited government. How did they square the circle? When it comes to the conduct of war, the history is pretty clear: They expected presidents to do what was required to secure the country's safety. But they did anticipate that Congress would play the role of Monday--morning quarterback: exposing malfeasance when called for, adding or cutting off funds when necessary, passing laws to regularize the exercise of executive discretion without undermining it, and, in the face of truly egregious behavior, being ready to impeach a president.

Obviously there is no neat solution to the problem of power and responsibility. However, as Winston Churchill said about democracy itself, the system of discretion and oversight the Constitution establishes is the worst possible solution-except for all others that have been tried.
The law is inhibiting the ability of those we have chosen to protect our nation from foreign threats to actually carry out their duties, and with disasterous consequences (the China matter especially--we really don't need China gaining military parity with us).

This law and court is clearly a blight endangering our liberty.

Warrants for domestic spying on citizens in criminal matters. Good, great. Warrents in national security matters clearly seem to be not so good. The stakes are quite different, and of a much greater magnitude, in national security matters. Instead of dealing with the liberty of once person, we're dealing with the security now and in the future of the entire nation--something which our individual liberty depends on.

Thus, I say more spying on foreign agents and terrorists. It's in our best interest--in fact, our liberty depends on it.

"Congress shouldn't be trying to infringe on POTUS (President of the United States) powers . . ."

Hold on, Jason. According to the concept of 'separation of powers' I learned from Schoolhouse Rock, Congress and POTUS are co-equal branches of government. This means that it's Congress' job to insure the executive doesn't overreach his authority.

As for your references to the Weekly Standard and NewsMax (if you can't trust NewsMax, who can you trust?), you may be interested to learn that Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent who first brought the Moussaoui case into the public eye, has not only criticized Bush for his domestic surveillance, but explicitly debunks three right-wing myths which claim the Moussaoui case justifies Bush's actions.

But getting back to the separation of powers thing. Bush has broken the law; that much is beyond dispute. What's more, he has stated that he intends to continue breaking the law. And it's not for you to give him the thumbs-up and say that it's a-okay, nor is it for me to condemn him and say he should be impeached.

It's the job of Congress to judge Bush's actions. Congress cannot allow any president to blantantly and repeatedly violate the law. Congress must either pass legislation explicitly leaglizing what Bush is doing, or impeach him. Any other course of action cedes too much power to the executive.
It's also POTUS' job to ensure that congress doesn't overreach into areas where it doesn't belong, like say intelligence gathering against foreign agents. Congress' job is oversite in this case is oversite, and not to dictate means to the end of security. Let them hold secret hearings and subpoena reports to ensure that the President isn't abusing his power by monitoring domestic political enemies. That would be great. However, congress is not doing this. The way they have instead unconstitutionally put barriers in the way of our liberty being protected is just bad. Remove the court, and let oversite occur. That would protect both our security and our liberty.
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