Monday, February 13, 2006

 

Check, please! (December 20, 2005)

In a WaPo Op-Ed piece, “Vital Presidential Power” (reg req'd), neo-dolts Bill Kristol and Gary Schmitt create an example of when a president might need to circumnavigate judicial oversight. There’s a terrorist with a cell phone containing U.S. numbers, but there’s no evidence to support a warrant to wiretap those numbers. After all, the administration would need to provide ..."probable cause to believe" that the target is an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist.
Yet where is the evidence to support such a finding? Who knows why the person seized in Pakistan was calling these people? Even terrorists make innocent calls and have relationships with folks who are not themselves terrorists.
Indeed. In this world view – at distinct odds with the Constitution – it’s better to violate the rights of the innocent than to let the guilty go unwatched. Of course, according to Kirstol/Schmitt, we’re at war, so anything goes. But are we at war? Declaring war is a prerogative reserved for Congress, not Bill Kristol and Gary Schmitt. Ultimately, the real question is passed over by these idiots. We all agree that, if used wisely and in the interests of the country and its people, unchecked power would be helpful to combat terror. But should we trust this president – or any president – not to abuse such sweeping powers? I’m with the architects of the Constitution: no.
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