Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Argument

There are two arguments you can have over the wire taps.

Argument number one is, "Should the President be allowed to spy on terrorists in order to keep Americans safe?'

Argument number two is, "Should the President be required to act within the law, even when claiming to protect the American people?"

Obviously the first argument is the one that most conservatives prefer to engage in. They are much less interested in the implications of whether or not the President has the legal authority to do what he is doing (he doesn't). They don't want to have to grapple with this question - "The President could get all the warrants he needed through the system as it is set up. Why did he have to go around it?"

Well we get one answer from Linda Chavez's latest article.
Which of these two alternatives will make America safer? The United States government will intercept communications from al Qaeda operatives overseas and their agents or enablers in the United States in the fastest, most efficient way possible, even if it means not obtaining a warrant beforehand. Or, if the government wants to intercept phone calls or e-mails between al Qaeda operatives overseas and their agents or enablers on American soil, government lawyers will have to spend hours, days, perhaps even weeks compiling legal arguments and factual evidence of the kind and quality that would hold up in court should any of the parties ever later be charged with a crime in U.S. courts.
This is a smokescreen of course, but it is also an answer. I think Democrats have been pretty good about explaining that you can get a warrant up to 72 hours after the wiretapping, and that these requests for wiretaps are seldom refused, so the substance of this argument would appear to be, it's just a lot of extra paper work.

Well that's to bad. But, as I saw on a bumper sticker once, freedom isn't free.

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