Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bush & The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Reading today on MSNBC about George W. Bush's request to Congress for broader power to monitor terror suspects on U.S. soil, I'm reminded of the fable about the boy who falsely cried "wolf" so many times to meet his selfish needs that it's hard to believe him even when the wolf is truly present. Why should we believe anything said by this failed president and the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight? Bush/Cheney credibility is zippo. (Latest bulletin: Wolfowitz favoritism and hijinks at the World Bank - anyone surprised??)

So here are the details of the request:

"The proposal would revise the way the government gets warrants from the secret FISA court to investigate suspected terrorists, spies and other apparent national security threats.

The administration wants to be able to monitor foreign nationals on American soil if they are thought to have significant intelligence information, even without known links to a foreign power. Under current law, the government must convince a FISA judge that an individual is an agent of a government, terror group or some other foreign adversary."

On the face of it, who doesn't want government to have the necessary tools to be able to prevent a planned attack on a subway system or open-air market from occurring? And it seems reasonable that the government should not need to convince the secret FISA court the person is a part of a larger organization, if it has some other evidence that there's a strong possibility the person is planning such an attack. Imagine the foreign version of Timothy McVeigh, for example - McVeigh had his dalliances with militia groups, etc., but mostly he was working alone. Even better, how about Unabomber Theodore Kazinski, who was truly working alone out of a Montana shack? Wouldn't we want to know about people like them if we could do so without damaging our civil liberties?

The article goes on to say, "one effect of such a change would be that the National Security Agency would have the authority to monitor foreigners without seeking court approval, even if the surveillance is conducted by tapping phones and e-mail accounts in the United States."

Well wait a minute. Why shouldn't the government be required to go to the minimal trouble of telling it to a judge, just to be sure it isn't overstepping its bounds? The Bush Administration is exhibit A of why government needs to be monitored. They've proven time and again that they can't be trusted - with anything.

In the final analysis, let's give the government the power it needs to monitor dangerous people. But leave it all within the FISA courts' authority. There's absolutely no reason to believe the government needs to be able to operate out of the view of the secret courts. If the wolf is truly there, the FISA courts can give the boy the power to catch him; otherwise No Go - boy-Bush has long-since lost his right to be given any benefit of the doubt.