Friday, August 24, 2007

Partisan To The Death

Take a walk with me down to the intersection of political puerility and overt mass murder, where more than a few lib turncoats are waiting for the crosstown dhimmi bus....

***Why not start at the top (or the bottom, depending on your point of view):

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday raised the prospect of a terror attack before next year's election, warning that it could boost the GOP's efforts to hold on to the White House.

Discussing the possibility of a new nightmare assault while campaigning in New Hampshire, Clinton also insisted she is the Democratic candidate best equipped to deal with it.

"It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?' But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world," Clinton told supporters in Concord.

"So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that," she added.
A number of retorts come to mind:

1) What's the horrible prospect to Mrs. Clinton - another mass-casualty terrorist attack in the homeland, or the Republicans having an electoral advantage again? What was your first guess?

2) If the GOP has "mishandled" terrorism and "made the world much more dangerous," why would another al Qaeda strike "give them an advantage"?

3) How is she "the best of the Democrats to deal with" another big terrorist attack when the "experience" she claims as First Lady in her husband's administration by definition has to include the utter lack of any response to al Qaeda's escalating series of attacks against the United States throughout the 1990s, culminating in 9/11? Doesn't that make her the "worst" of the Democrats to deal with such a calamity? Or at least no better than the rest?

4) Isn't being "the best of the Democrats to deal with" another al Qaeda attack here kind of like being the most powerful hockey team in Singapore?

5) If Rudy or Romney or FDT were to say something like this, wouldn't the Enemy Media swarm them like a warthog falling into a pirhanna stream for "politicizing terrorism"?

6) Did you think I could generate that many rhetorical questions out of such an obvious source?

***This story certainly makes it easier for me and my family to sleep at night:

There have been a number of suspicious incidents this summer aboard Washington state ferries, which prompted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Coast Guard to increase security along the ferry lines and to issue a warning to law enforcement.

"On several occasions since May 2007, members of the public and employees of the Washington State Ferry (WSF) have reported a number of suspicious activities aboard state ferries," said the note, sent out Wednesday to state and local law enforcement by the chief intelligence officer at DHS.

The warning was issued as the hunt continues for two potential suspects that were observed on multiple Washington state ferries. The individuals "exhibited unusual behavior and undue interest in the layout and workings of the ferries and ferry terminals," said the note.

Okay, that's only part of it. The Admiral does the public service of filling in the rest:

This gives more context to the flap that arose in Seattle, when the [Seattle] Post-Intelligencer refused to run a photo of two men who "exhibited unusual behavior and undue interest". The FBI wanted help in identifying the two men captured in the photo taken by a ferry employee unnerved by the pair's questions. The P-I claimed that a right to privacy - for a picture taken on a public ferry - overrode any security considerations. [emphasis added]

Isn't that quaint? "Young Middle Eastern men" have an inviolable "right to privacy" rivaling that of a pregnant woman's womb, and like the contents of same, that "right" supercedes the "right" of the rest of us not to get blown the bleep up. How "proactive" of the Seattle "paper of record" to make that decision on behalf of the rest of the Puget Sound region's inhabitants, one of which I'm.

I'll be sure to remember this gesture should the al Qaeda cell to which these two "young Middle Eastern men" may belong succeed in eradicating power plants, chemical facilities, and/or oil refineries and "wreaking havoc on Seattle" - or even closer to my home. After all, such "public-spiritedness" should be properly "rewarded" - don't you think?

***Meanwhile, the other "paper of record" - the one in New York City - and more specifically, the very same two "reporters" who exposed the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program in the first place, went into maximum fearmongering overdrive about the recent FISA update legislation that the Donks grudgingly and very temporarily enacted before their month-long August vacation, at White House insistence. Here's an excerpt:

Several legal experts said that by redefining the meaning of “electronic surveillance,” the new law narrows the types of communications covered in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, by indirectly giving the government the power to use intelligence collection methods far beyond wiretapping that previously required court approval if conducted inside the United States.

These new powers include the collection of business records, physical searches and so-called “trap and trace” operations, analyzing specific calling patterns. For instance, the legislation would allow the government, under certain circumstances, to demand the business records of an American in Chicago without a warrant if it asserts that the search concerns its surveillance of a person who is in Paris, experts said.

"Mule fritters!" replies NRO's Andy McCarthy, who could not find any such sweeping "new" police powers in the fourteen (!) page bill. Neither can the ACLU, which with wearisome predictability and typical knee-jerk ideological vaccuity is fanatically opposed to the Protect America Act. As it turns out, not only do James Risen and Eric Lichtblau stack the deck of this "news" article with named "experts" that only support their not-inconspicuous bias, but not one of those hacks backs up this most explosive of the dyspeptic duo's claims. The "experts" they reference that do are, alas, all "anonymous sources".

Or, in plain, non-Vulcan English, they made it all up.

McCarthy's peroration was regailingly blunt:

Bush Derangement Syndrome is such that many people — including the newspaper of record — don’t want to have a serious conversation about the proper balance between privacy and security. They prefer to misrepresent laws and proposals while hinting at dark conspiracies. It would be nice if they’d notice that the Bush Administration, for all intents and purposes, is over. This argument is about what powers must be available to the branch of government charged with ensuring public safety; it is not about which person or party is wielding those powers at the moment....

Immediately after 9/11, everyone in America was outraged by the “wall” which impeded intelligence-sharing and destroyed any hope of averting the attacks. Not surprisingly, the president and Congress tripped over each other in the rush to knock it down, then spent the next few years pleading with voters to understand that its erection and maintenance weren’t really their fault. By contrast, the FISA court, unconcerned with such irrelevancies as voters, tried to rebuild the wall by judicial fiat. Just as that same court has judicially legislated a new FISA this year, giving more due process to foreign spies and terrorists, and thus crippling our ability to monitor them. So what just happened? Despite control of both Houses by Democrats, the darlings of the ACLU, Congress dared not leave town two weeks ago without undoing that judicial excess. Members, after all, were headed home to face their constituents, not the Times' Washington Bureau.

True national security is politically responsive security. Judicially managed security, otherwise known as FISA, is a ticket to another 9/11.

A ticket that Risen and Lichtblau clearly want to see punched, so that they can use it to bludgeon the Bush White House some more. Or, as I've put it many times before, they're more than willing, even eager, to wade through the blood of thousands more Americans if it means they can finally "get" Dubya, even though doing so no longer matters.

That's not "derangement," ladies and gentlemen; that is treason.

***"Derangement" is the Donk Congress forcing the release of an executive summary of a classified inspector-general report on the CIA’s performance before 9/11 in the ignorantly knee-jerk assumption that it would embarrass the Bushies for their (at the time) eight month anti-terrorism record and cut a pass to the Clintonoids for their eight YEARS of ignoring al Qaeda. Guess they really believed the Bushophobic circus their groin-kicking partisan comrades on the 9/11 Commission made of its 2004 public hearings.

Instead, the report eviscerates former CIA Director George Tenet, whose fusillade of pre-emptive excuses is out of the lowest Clintonoid tradition. This is fitting given that the bucks Tenet is frantically trying to pass like improvised explosive kidney stones all were minted on Sick Willie's criminally negligent national security non-watch, an eight-year guard duty stint he spent redefining vigilance as getting tennis balls sucked through his garden hose. A satyriasis that had a grisly "third party" price tag.

I'd love to not have to add that Dubya does come in for some serious heat - for giving Tenet the Medal of Freedom upon his departure from Langley. An awfully strange way for punishing failure, that. But then we've always known that, for this President, the "New Tone" trumps everything - even protecting American lives.

If we do get hit again before he leaves office, we'll re-learn firsthand how thoroughly that inspidly "bipartisan" sentiment will not be recupricated.

***Perhaps all of the above is why Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell unloaded on a reporter for the El Paso Times:
Q: Can't you get the warrant after the fact?

A: The issue is volume and time. Think about foreign intelligence. What it presented me with an opportunity is to make the case for something current, but what I was really also trying to put a strong emphasis on is the need to do foreign intelligence in any context. My argument was that the intelligence community should not be restricted when we are conducting foreign surveillance against a foreigner in a foreign country, just by dint of the fact that it happened to touch a wire. We haven't done that in wireless for years.

Q: So you end up with people tied up doing paperwork?

A: It takes about two hundred man hours to do one telephone number. Think about it from the judges standpoint. Well, is this foreign intelligence? Well how do you know it's foreign intelligence? Well what does Abdul calling Mohammed mean, and how do I interpret that? So, it's a very complex process, so now, I've got people speaking Urdu and Farsi and, you know, whatever, Arabic, pull them off the line have them go through this process to justify what it is they know and why and so on. And now you've got to write it all up and it goes through the signature process, take it through (the Justice Department), and take it down to the FISA court. So all that process is about two hundred man hours for one number. We're going backwards, we couldn't keep up. So the issue was ...

Q: How many calls? Thousands?

A: Don't want to go there. Just think, lots. Too many. Now the second part of the issue was under the President's program, the terrorist surveillance program, the private sector had assisted us. Because if you're going to get access you've got to have a partner and they were being sued. Now if you play out the suits at the value they're claimed, it would bankrupt these companies. So my position was we have to provide liability protection to these private sector entities. So that was part of the request. So we went through that and we argued it. Some wanted to limit us to terrorism. My argument was, wait a minute, why would I want to limit it to terrorism. It may be that terrorists are achieving weapons of mass destruction, the only way I would know that is if I'm doing foreign intelligence by who might be providing a weapon of mass destruction.

Q: And this is still all foreign to foreign communication?

A: All foreign to foreign.

The EPT sold this exchange as a "debate". It comes across a lot more like a lecture about the facts of life to a three-year-old. McConnell says what the FISA upgrade is, what it isn't, what the law is supposed to do and what it isn't supposed to do, and why the upgrade fixed what the FISA court had turned the statute into - namely, another Gorelick "wall" in all but name.

You get the feeling that McConnell - and his boss, or else I can't imagine why the DNI granted this interview - has had this outraged exasperation roiling around in his gut for quite some time. Or so I conclude from his plowing straight into the potential consequences of the half-year of intel the blowing of the TSP and the FISA Court overreach cost U.S. intelligence agencies:
A: Well, one of the things you do is you talk to reporters. And you give them the facts the best you can. Now part of this is a classified world. The fact we're doing it this way means that some Americans are going to die, because we do this mission unknown to the bad guys because they're using a process that we can exploit and the more we talk about it, the more they will go with an alternative means and when they go to an alternative means, remember what I said, a significant portion of what we do, this is not just threats against the United States, this is war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Q. So you're saying that the reporting and the debate in Congress means that some Americans are going to die?

A. That's what I mean.

The Admiral adds one other detail that definitely should not be left out:
McConnell came under fire for supposedly backing out of a deal on a Democratic version of FISA. This accusation is probably what drove him to talk publicly about the FISA debate. He told the El Paso Times that the White House did not pressure him into rejecting the Democratic version; in fact, McConnell says that the White House relied on his opinion to set their position, not the other way around. He rejected the final Democratic version because the Democrats changed the language from their previous agreement, something the DNI's attorneys caught on the last round of negotiations. McConnell insisted that the previous version was the only one he would support, and that's what passed in the Senate - not the "White House version", but a version from the previous round of negotiations with Congress.

Even in the course of grudgingly acting to partially plug a gaping hole in our national security that their side punched in the first place, the Democrats tried to screw the White House and leave the American people maximally undefended.

We're not supposed to shed blood for oil, but when it comes to wresting partisan advantage, the Democrats will, almost to a drone, spill rivers of it - whether it be that of Iraqis, Afghans, Israelis, or their own countrymen - and then blame it all on George W. Bush.

These days, the word "treason" seems like a euphemism.