Wednesday, December 21, 2005

You Don't Tug On Rocketman's Cape

This morning Brother Hinderaker sent the following email to Eric Lichtblau and Adam Liptak, the only two New York Times "reporters" low enough on the totem poll to have their email addresses listed in that (waste)paper:

In your reporting in the Times you appear to have tried to create the impression that the NSA's overseas intercept program is, or may be, illegal. I believe that position is foreclosed by all applicable federal court precedents. I assume, for example, that you are aware of the November 2002 decision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, in Sealed Case No. 02-001, where the court said:

"The Truong court [United States v. Truong Dinh Hung, 4th Cir. 1980], as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. *** We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

In view of the controlling federal court precedents, I do not see how an argument can be made in good faith that there is any doubt about the NSA program's legality. Therefore, I wonder whether you are somehow unaware of the relevant case law. If you know of some authority to support your implication that the intercepts are or may be illegal, I would be interested to know what that authority is. If you are aware of no such authority, I think that a correction is in order.

Amazingly, Licthblau replied. Twice. A combined four sentences. A total of fifty fingerswidth-deep and yet torrentially evasive words. And Hinderaker answered him. Twice. At length. A tour de force cross-examination. It was like watching a physics debate between Albert Einstein and a cocker spaniel. A mastectomized Dolly Parton wouldn't have been this lopsided.

It is the most symbolic manifestation of this whole phony furor I've seen yet.

If Democrats think a contrivance so pathetic that it didn't hold together for even seventy-two hours is going to make the American people forget their own retreat (via attempted subject-changing) on Iraq much less knock the White House back on the defensive, they really don't see the drilling heading their way next November.

And they don't. Tonight they kicked the Patriot Act can six months down the road - or right smack in the middle of the 2006 mid-term campaign, where they undoubtedly believe yet another showdown with Bush over national security will propel them to a 1994-like sweep.

After their third straight electoral beating, will liberals' Bushophobic pathology will become homocidal?

Only if they can come up with an action or actions that are worthy more than fifty words.