Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Interesting, But Wrong
I feel the need to respond to a comment I noticed here recently on my post about the Diane Rehm Show. The poster brought to my attention a 1982 New York Times article about a Federal Appeals Court having upheld domestic wiretapping. The article fails to bear a legitimate comparison to what is happening now. The FISA law provides that the NSA can seek warrants from a FISA Court for precisely the kinds of investigations that the Bush Administration authorized here. The difference is that the Bush Administration is bypassing the FISA Court and keeping it entirely secret that an individual was ever wiretapped. The 1982 ruling, therefore, upheld the legitimacy of the FISA Courts, as without knowledge of having been wiretapped the plaintiff could never have filed suit. Upholding the legitimacy of the FISA Courts seems like a decision of questionable merit to me, but that is a totally different issue than we are discussing today. Now, unlike in 1982, nobody is informed the these wiretaps ever took place and the Administration has not sought any warrant from the FISA Court, even though such warrants can be issued up to 72 hours after the wiretap was conducted. So, while the commenter brings up an interesting point, the comparison between the NYT article cited and the current situation falls desperately short.