The leaks just keep on coming! The Democrats seem to be determined to revert to the law-enforcement model of fighting terrorism that prevailed before 9/11. That is effective if you’re aim is to prevent the same people that carried out previous attacks from carrying out new ones. Obviously this has been successful in the sense that none of the people that carried those attacks carried out any others. But since many of them were suicide attacks that is of limited efficacy.
It seems that some people in the FBI and the administration knew that the 9/11 attackers were in the country, that they were learning to fly airplanes and that Osama had discussed using airplanes to attack the U.S. The problem this presents, if you are functioning in the law enforcement mode, is that the only actual crimes committed prior to 9/11 by those who carried out the attacks were immigration violations, which we have been told endlessly, are not real crimes.
There was nothing in their actions that could have been legally used on 9/11 to prevent them from boarding those airplanes. Nor were they carrying anything that was considered a weapon at that time. No guns, no big knives, no explosives. Nothing but boxcutters. I myself flew back from Las Vegas on the night of Sept 10/11 with a folding knife in my carryon luggage. No one looked twice.
In spite of that, there are those who cling to the illusion that the correct way to defend ourselves is by law enforcement action, with all the attendant restrictions and exemptions. If FBI agents stopped someone carrying a bomb from boarding an airplane or entering a building without sufficient Probable Cause or found the bomb through a search later determined to be illegal, then the terrorist walks.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t give me warm and fuzzy feelings.
On the other hand, we have those who, like the President, consider us to be in a war and know that we have to fight it as a war. This makes some people uncomfortable.
So uncomfortable, it would appear that they are willing to leak classified operations to the press.
First we have someone leaking to the New York Times that the NSA, which monitors telephone and radio transmissions worldwide, has intercepted U.S. citizens or legal aliens communicating with known terrorists overseas.
Well, I would certainly hope so.
But many are incensed that the government would eavesdrop on terrorist communications with U.S. “persons” without a warrant. They are trying to make the case that this is an egregious violation of civil rights. But the number of intercepts I heard was 26. That’s 26 cases out of how many thousands of calls since 9/11. It hardly looks like a Gestapo type operation to me.
Now it appears that those wedded to the law enforcement model have taken exception to the monitoring of several sites around Washington DC associated with Muslims for radiation. Again they have seen fit to leak classified operations to the press, this time U.S. News and World Report.
They are crying that the President is shredding the Constitution in his pursuit of terrorists who may or may not be Muslims. In light of the history of Islamic terrorist attacks in the past twenty years, I would come down firmly on the side of surveillance myself.
In many ways, the President is the victim of this own success. There have been no successful attacks since 9/11. This may be due to counterterrorism operations, as the President’s supporters say, or it may be due to nothing at all, which seems to be the position of his opponents. But since the morning of 9/12 it has been accepted wisdom that there will be another attack. I wonder if the Democrats that are making these arguments will be anywhere to be found on the morning after that attack?
They say that civil liberties are being forfeited for the illusion of safety. But what do they think will happen to civil liberties if there is another attack. Are they going to stand up before angry voters and explain their obstructions? Or are they hoping to regain control of the government? Do they realize that they are writing the standards to which they will be held?