Friday, March 03, 2006

The Friday Furo Questus

In abbreviated form, today.

Back from Nashville - good trip. Weather was fantastic - 65-70 the entire time I was there. I'll post a trip report and some pictures sometime over the weekend.

Questus Furore - FISA: Disagreeing With The Dean
I'm no law school dean, Yale or otherwise. But I think he's wrong.

To quote
the quote:
By so saying, the Fourth Amendment requires that any government surveillance be reasonable, supported except in emergency situations by warrants issued by courts, and based upon specific probable cause. The current NSA surveillance program, as I understand it, violates all three constitutional standards.
Um - huh?

Reasonable - one could argue that intecepting these communications is at least as reasonable as the government having the right (which it does) to inspect and open, if necessary, all mail and cargo crossing US borders. There's
a whole host of other situations where warrants are not required. Emergency situations - I'm going to leave that one alone. Once could consider a war to count as an emergency situation, but first one must consider whether the United States is at war. While the prevailing American political discourse says no, there stangely seems to be a large group of people who say yes. "Specific probable cause" - talking with suspected terrorists does not satisfy that requirement? Andrew McCarthy has more to say about probable cause here.

There is one more, overiding consideration that is not addressed here. These intercepts are occuring for intelligence purposes, not criminal investigation reasons. There is a difference, and in my opinion, a different burden of proof.

If someone gets prosecuted on the basis of information gained in this manner, the case will get tossed. But information gained in this manner is not meant to present charges, but to instigate investigations - which would be bound by fourth amendment considerations.

Some of the other comments were more annoying. The Sanate Select Intelligence Committee and the Congressional leaderships of both parties were informed - even though many of the Democrats managed to forget that when the New York Times started writing about the eavesdropping debate. Despite media and political rivals' statements to the contrary, these were not the acts of a power-mad dictator seeking the overthrow of truth, democracy, jusctice, peace, and virtue.

This is an intelligence battle, and ought to be considered as such.

But then, I'm just a Utah engineer.

Andrew McCarthy has written extensively on this. I suggest looking
here, here, here, here, and here. (Among others.) In addition, he has an excellent piece on the program and a strange overreach by the FISA court in the February , 2006 print edition of National Review.

Recommended Reading
Nixon went to China. Bush has gone to India. Make a note of this - this is a part of increasingly closer ties between the United States and India. Interesting.

Victor Davis Hanson, "Rocks and Ripples."

Thought of the Week
"The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it, and if one finds the prospect of a long war intolerable, it is natural to disbelieve in the possibility of victory."
George Orwell, Second Thoughts on James Burnham, 1946

Churchill Quote of the Week
"Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."
Sir Winston Churchill


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