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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

More wiretaps

According to this report, the FISA courts were not "rubber stamps" for the Administrations surveillance requests:

[S]ince 2001, the judges have modified 179 of the 5,645 requests for surveillance by the Bush administration, the report said. A total of 173 of those court-ordered "substantive modifications" took place in 2003 and 2004. And, the judges also rejected or deferred at least six requests for warrants during those two years -- the first outright rejection of a wiretap request in the court's history.

The left will go bonkers over this story. However, their predictible reaction will contradict the former claim that the FISA courts would have approved these warrants. It's from this story that the FISA courts did not appreciate that we are at war with a foreign enemy. Apparently, the FISA courts require more than just a suspicion that an individual in the U.S. is a foreign terrorist to get a warrant to monitor their INTERNATIONAL calls. What a joke. In the Moussoui case, investigators did not even attempt to get a warrant because they felt they did not have enough cause to search his computer. In fact before 9/11 they were planning on taking the computer to France where it could be searched. What kind of moranic logic is this?

It's the logic of the FISA court.

The fact that FISA is turning down warrants from the NSA clearly shows that requiring warrants would give pause to investigators who may have less than a 12 hour window to gather information. Furthermore it chilla any creative thinking on leads - the kind of creative thinking that the 9/11 commission said we lacked prior to the 9-11 attacks.

For example, if the U.S. military uncovered a U.S. phone number in the notes of a captured terrorist, but the last digit was unreadable, one would expect the NSA to immediatly monitor all ten possible phone numbers. After all, one number out of the ten may be the gold mine for preventing an attack. And it is also obvious that the one out of the ten may soon learn that his terrorist friend has been captured. Moreover, the CIA may want to try and set-up one of the U.S. based contacts and trick them into divulging information (perhaps pretending to be the captured terrorist). Do you think FISA would allow the monitoring of all ten numbers? Do you think FISA would allow such a sting without probable cause? No way in hell.

This obvious dilemma is why Bush avoided FISA in the first place.