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Bin Laden tape justifies Unitary Executive on the Big Story

Reported by Chrish - January 20, 2006

John Gibson didn't say so in those words on The Big Story yesterday 1/19/06. What he did say, was "Are our own laws making it tougher to prevent these terror attacks? And the first question that came to mind when I heard about this new Bin Laden tape was 'How can you possibly oppose the Patriot Act or (Bush's) wiretapping program now?'"

Gibson had on as a guest Victoria Toensing, who if you will recall was the author of the non-enforceable law that has stymied Patrick Fitzgerald in his ability to charge the White House Plame-leaker to date. She of course took the White House stance, charging that the FISA court slows down wiretapping that needs to be done immediately and allows international terrorists to come to America for quickie meetings on our soil while our intelligence agencies fill out paperwork .

She uses the disengenuous argument that the law, written in 1978, didn't take into account cell phones and computers, and suggests that critics of (Bush's warrantless domestic spying - she used the generic frame "the NSA program") want to use a horse and buggy to get to Paris. Asked by Gibson how the Bin Laden tape illustrates that the "wiretapping" needs to go on, she answers that if an Al Queda operative in Afghanistan ("Al Queda 'A'") flies to the US for a meeting, "the critics" are saying that we should shut down listening while he is in the US, and only commence listening when he is back in Pakistan. (Pakistan, Afghanistan, whatever.) She says "that is ridiculous" and I am in complete agreement.

Taking a page from "Graphics for Dummies" they put this up on the screen:
ssAQABCgraphicBS.jpg

She appears to dismiss anyone who is not in intelligence, saying she's seen people on TV who say that warrants can be obtained 72 hours after the wiretapping takes place and they don't know what they're talking about. Two problems, she says: First, everything requires paperwork and she claims the Attorney General would not approve anything based on a phone call from someone at NSA; he has to see something in writing and that takes hours, at a minimum. (Comment: apparently she forgot about the technological advance known as the fax machine, but that is beside the point.) Secondly, she claims, probable cause requirements could allow AQ-C, who's been in contact with AQ-B who has spoken to AQ-A, (see graphic, nudge) to come to the US and there would not be sufficient reason to tap him. She says basically that people who aren't lawyers wouldn't understand. (Comment: remind me again, who are the elite media?) Summing up she says that there isn't enough time to get a warrant, and "usually" there isn't enough evidence to establish probable cause.

Gibson thanks her for explaining it; segment over.

Comment: Disengenuous obfuscating - does that sound lawyerly enough? The "critics" include Constitutional and legal scholars and experts and the Congressional Research Service who agree the law is sufficient to allow necessary surveillance and Bush broke the law. FOX keeps putting up the wrong defense - only their dense viewers don't understand the difference between wiretapping foreign agents and their American-based counterparts (OK by 60-70% of Americans, according to polls) and DOMESTIC SPYING ON AMERICANS WITHOUT A WARRANT. I have not yet seen a poll addressing that issue, THE issue - do you approve of the US Government wiretapping American citizens in America without a warrant?

Fox News continues to parrot the White House talking points and use 9/11 as justification for Bush's administration doing whatever they think is right, laws and Constitution be damned. Shades of Ollie North? O, right, he's got his own show on Fox News.

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