Friday, August 3, 2007

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid--August 3, 2007 Edition

All month we have been treated to the reemergence of al Qaeda, gut feelings, vague threats and most recently a fear mongering senator. Yesterday Minority Leader John Boehner revealed that earlier this year the FISA Court ruled part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program illegal.

The Washington Post explained this morning that a large percentage of the world's communications passes through communication switching stations in the United States. Earlier this year a FISA judge ruled that it was illegal for the government had "to broadly surveil communications," even if a phone call or email exchange starts in one foreign country passes through the United States and ends in another country. (I don't know what that means either, but I would guess "broadly surveil communications" means something like having a computer listen to all the phone calls and scan all the email from one country to another or at least one city to another.)

It is pretty clear the Administration and their lackeys in the media and the Republican house leadership are sending Democrats in Congress a simple message--give us more American freedoms or if we are attacked we will tell the world it is your fault.

It looks like the Democrats are more than willing to give the President what he wants. This morning the President announced:

The Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, has provided the Congress with a narrow and targeted piece of legislation that will close the gaps in intelligence. In other words, he's working on the Hill and he's told members this is what we need to do our job to protect the American people. It's the bare minimum the DNI said he needs to do his job. When Congress sends me their version, when Congress listens to all the data and facts and they send me a version of how to close those gaps, I'll ask one question, and I'm going to ask the DNI: Does this legislation give you what you need to prevent an attack on the country? Is this what you need to do your job, Mr. DNI? That's the question I'm going to ask. And if the answer is yes, I'll sign the bill. And if the answer is no, I'm going to veto the bill.
Everybody who expects the Decider to keep his word, put up your hand. No hands. Well at least you have learned something the last 6 plus years. According to TPMMuckraker
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), says that a deal had in fact been reached with McConnell, who has been busy lobbying Congress on a FISA update all week. "We had an agreement with DNI McConnell," Hoyer spokeswoman Stacey Bernards tells TPMmuckraker, "and then the White House quashed the agreement."
The real question is will Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid surrender all of our remaining Constitutional freedoms in a mad dash to avoid being labeled soft on terrorism while still getting out of town for their August vacation?

UPDATE: The the Huffington Post is reporting that Senate Democrats have just surrendered many of the remaining rights of free Americans to the Administration. What could they do? They had to go on vacation.

Pressure is mounting on Nancy Pelosi to go along with the Senate. In what could be taken as a veiled threat, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas said, "I hope that there are no attacks before we are able to effectively update this important act."

"We're hugely disappointed with the Democrats," said Caroline Fredrickson, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union. "The idea they let themselves be manipulated into accepting the White House proposal, certainly taking a great deal of it, when they're in control __ it's mind-boggling."

Can we just say no to Congressional Democrats when the ask for money?