Fat Steve's Blatherings

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

And More Washington Post Lying

        Just after putting up my previous post, I find out that the Washington Post has finally corrected some factual errors in its hit piece on Bill Roggio.

        And in a perfect example of editing-as-lying, it fails to mention the principle criticism of the article: the implication that Bill Roggio was a paid flack for the U.S. military.  (Roggio replies here.)

        Yesterday I finished Six Days of War by Michael Oren, a history of the June, 1967 Arab-Israeli War.  Two of the recurring themes are the way the Arab armies promoted people without regard for competence, and the habit of lying to superiors to please them.  Then, when the war started, the Arabs were surprised at how badly their armies performed.  Really, they were sincerely amazed.

        The MSM pulls this crap, and we catch them at it easily with the 'Net at our disposal.  And they wonder why we don't trust them.  Really, they can't figure it out.

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  • The Washington Post "lies" and you distort.

    The CRS report, undertaken at the request of some members of Congress, does not come out and flatly say that there was no legal basis for the secret spy program, because the full details of the program are not yet known. However, it directly rebuts the Administration's claims, in its December 22 letter, as to why it had to engage in secret surveillance.

    The Administration's main excuse was that FISA -- enacted in 1978, as a direct response to former President Nixon's illegal wiretapping of his political "enemies" -- is too outdated, too slow, and too cumbersome to deal with the "new threat" posed by this "new" kind of enemy and new kind of "war."

    But then, why not ask Congress to amend FISA? Acting outside FISA, the CRS report pointed out, is illegal: FISA itself says that "procedures in this chapter . . . shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance . . . and the interception of domestic wire, oral, and electronic communications may be conducted."

    What about the argument that the President has the power simply to disregard FISA if he so chooses? The CRS outright rejected the claim that there is constitutional authority for plenary presidential surveillance in derogation of Congressional statutes clearly to the contrary. And it points out that FISA is, indeed, directly to the contrary: Its legislative history of FISA and amendments indicate clearly that the "exclusive means" language was inserted to precisely to counter any claim that the President has inherent Executive authority to order surveillance of Americans without complying with FISA.

    Finally, the CRS report effectively refutes the Administration's claims that FISA is too slow or cumbersome to be effective in current times. It explains how, under FISA, surveillance can begin prior to receipt of a warrant. (It is also done in secret, without notice to the target.) And it points out that if the President nevertheless feared that FISA warrants would take too long or might somehow "tip off" targets of surveillance, he had only to ask Congress for changes to the law.

    By Blogger Jerry Monaco, at 3:53 PM  

  • Jerry:

            The Administration considered getting the law changed, but concluded that in doing so, it would have to give information to Congress that would inevitably leak.  This, in turn, would make the change useless.

            By the way, I find your faith in the Congressional Research Service's infalibility charming.


    By Blogger Stephen M. St. Onge, at 8:08 PM  

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