Thursday, October 18, 2007

FISA. What the Democratic leaders don't get.

Once again the Democrat leadership seem determined to undermine our ability to track terrorists. House Democrats were forced to pull their proposed legislation to change the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) because of lack of support among moderate Democrats. These same moderate Democrats joined Republicans two months ago to pass a temporary FISA fix so our intelligence could monitor the overseas communications of terrorists without a warrant. Proving that there are Democrats who understand this war on terror.

Powerline makes this important point to understand:

As the Washington Times notes, it "would require a court order to gather communications when a foreign terrorist tries to contact someone in the United States" even though "from 1978 when FISA was first enacted until this year, no such requirement existed."

So we have done fine since 1978 with FISA the way it was implemented, but now, when we need intelligence on terrorists more than ever before, Democrat leaders want to change it to make it more difficult to wiretap terrorists.

Powerline also has this:

Brian Walsh and Todd Gaziano of the Heritage Foundation extend the critique of the Democrats' attempt to impose "a Byzantine and unprecedentedly burdensome intelligence regime on those charged with protecting Americans from international terrorists." Among other things, they ask:

Why Congress would depart from the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission by making it more difficult and cumbersome to gather intelligence on Islamic terrorists;

Whether there was any actual harm (rather than psychic harm that supposedly results from potential surveillance) to any American citizens as a result of five years of intelligence gathering on foreign terrorists since 9/11 and, if so, what that supposed harm was;

Why Congress believes it has the constitutional authority, with or without a court's assistance, to micromanage decisions about which potential foreign enemies to gather information on, when that power is constitutionally vested in the commander in chief;

Why no previous President--Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, or Bill Clinton--has ever conceded that FISA or any other regulatory regime crafted by Congress is the sole means by which a President may collect intelligence for national security purposes; andWhy Americans should entrust to Congress and congressional staff members a database containing information on every American whose name is mentioned as part of a national security investigation.