Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Unwarranted Tails

Well Lookee Here!

Democrat Talking Point Number One on the Bush NSA Wiretap Kerfuffle: In its entire history, the FISA court has only 5 times rejected a request for wiretapping. It's the easiest court in the world to get a warrant from.

Now it turns out that the truth is a little bit different than the fairytale the Democrat's have spun for us.
U.S. President George Bush decided to skip seeking warrants for international wiretaps because the court was challenging him at an unprecedented rate.

A review of Justice Department reports to Congress by Heart newspapers shows the 26-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court modified more wiretap requests from the Bush administration than the four previous presidential administrations combined.

The 11-judge court that authorizes FISA wiretaps modified only two search warrant orders out of the 13,102 applications approved over the first 22 years of the court's operation.

But since 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.
Of those 179 court-ordered modified requests, a total of 173 of them were "substantive modifications."

The presumption in the second article I cited, from the Seattle-Post Intelligencer is that this is an obvious abuse of power by the President. The article, by Stewart Powell, even ends with a little quotation about how this obviously parallels Nixon-era abuses of intelligence agencies. And this, of course, is going to be the way that the Democrat's spin this new factor as well.

Hmm. Was Nixon spying on Al Qaeda, too? Although during his Administration, the Democrats certainly had active sleeper cells across the country, but had they successfully blown up the Pentagon and the Empire State Building? Was there a domestic anthrax scare? I can't say that I recall that.

Meanwhile there is significant evidence that this program has deterred terrorism .

[D]amage there almost certainly would be were the program to be ended, as many Democrats and many in the mainstream media would like. Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of NSA and now deputy national intelligence director, has come forward to say, "This program has been successful in detecting and preventing attacks inside the United States."

I think we can assume that this story will keep on working as the NYTimes' unexpected Christmas present to the Bush Administration.


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