Today AG Mukasey, one of the leading figures on terror's front lines in the 90s, was among the pleaders on Capitol Hill today to remind the increasingly-jaded and war-weary population that we still face threats and still need to remain vigilant:
U.S. spy agencies have missed intelligence in the days since terrorism surveillance legislation expired, officials told Congress on Friday, but a top Democrat accused the administration of "fear mongering."Someone famous once said, those who are willing to forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Maybe it was former CIA analyst Larry Johnson? Anyway, to that end we have Senator Harry Reid:
"No amount of fear mongering will change the fact that our intelligence collection capabilities have not been weakened since last week," Reid said.Not so long ago many top members of both parties found the program to be necessary. But as the number of terror-free days continues to click off and with an election approaching, the concern has vanished. Some are now heralding guys like Harry Reid as the truest of patriots, standing tall against the fear-mongering fascists whose only goals are more perks for their telecom golfing buddies and expanded ability to eavesdrop on Grandma's calls to the old country.
Fine, perhaps all patriotic Americans should come to an understanding right here and now. If the plan is to forego security for liberty whenever the two meet, regardless of the consequences, then let nobody from here out blame the government. Let no money be wasted on Commissions to investigate the aftermath. In the fight against security, the sons of liberty should know no whining.
It's one thing for sanctimonious politicians to hypocritically use terror bills to position themselves for reelection but perhaps the most irritating aspect is the groundswell of left-wingers who believe Bush's enhanced snooping represents evil incarnate. One only has to revisit the CALEA law passed in the Democratic Congress in 1994, which evoked this opinion from a self-avowed "privacy nazi" (and no friend of Bushco):
The domestic electronic surveillance ball really got rolling under the Clinton administration, with the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). CALEA mandated that the telcos aid wiretapping by installing remote wiretap ports onto their digital switches so that the switch traffic would be available for snooping by law enforcement. After CALEA passed, the FBI no longer had to go on-site with wiretapping equipment in order to tap a line—they could monitor and digitally process voice communications from the comfort of the home office. (The FCC has recently ruled that CALEA covers VOIP services, which means that providers like Vonage will have to find a way to comply.)That was after the first bombing of the World Trade Center when later it was discovered that US resident Mohammed Salameh, one of the perps, had made dozens of calls to Baghdad shortly before the blast. Somehow, some way, it wasn't a problem back then.