January 24, 2006

A look back at Plan A

Glenn Greenwald has what is probably the single most important contribution by a blogger to the debate over domestic wiretapping. [Via Majikthise]

This week, as you know, Gen. Michael Hayden said the administration was forced to end-run FISA because the probable cause standard was too onerous. Forget whether you think that permits them to just ignore the law. Using actual reporting (or at least Nexising), Greenwald digs up the fact that in 2002, the justice department specifically told Congress not to change the requirement for FISA warrants from probable cause to reasonable suspicion because such a change would be 1) unnecessary, thanks to the glorious Patriot Act, and 2) possibly unconstitutional.

Read Greenwald's entire post. There's a lot of detail there, and some interesting side issues (like the fact that Congress's rejection of this bill casts doubt on administration claims that it gave tacit permission for the same activities in its general GWoT endorsement). The question left opened is why the administration was advising Congress not to help it do legally and openly what it was already doing covertly. My theory is simple: the DOJ was lying about point 1: It did in fact want the more lenient standard (though whether this was objectively necessary is doubtful). But it was also genuinely concerned about point 2: If it got the new law it wanted only to have that law overturned, it would then have to stop its new snooping campaign. So the administration decided that the best course of action would be to do whatever it wanted to do and not get caught.

And they would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those damn kids.

For mainstream media coverage of this development, click here


Posted by Daniel Radosh


"We liked his earlier funny movies."

No, really, I don't mind your getting angry about politics, but now that Ana Marie's gone all literary on us, where are we going to turn to for assfucking jokes? (TMFTML is more about getting drunk these days.)

These days?

This is exactly the sort of fact-checking and bean-counting precision that a weblog can provide and which the tousle-haired supermen of the MSM are too cool to do anymore. It's facts not 'Story.' Greenwald's is an Ed Murrow piece in a James Frey world. God bless him.

Of course they didn't want the law changed from "probable cause" to "suspicion." That would have been a lot of work--a lot of work that would put the whole issue of surveillance into the public eye.

The real reason they circumvented the FISA courts was to avoid accountability.
They don't want a record of their list of the people. They've been using the might & money of the Federal government to spy on (1) political opponents, (2) members of Congress, (3) journalists, (4) activists, and (5) whistleblowers.

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