Friday, December 30, 2005

More on The NSA Surveillance Issue

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Fred Barnes, Michael Barone, and Mark Steyn on his show yesterday. From Radioblogger we have this portion of the transcript:

HH: Mark Steyn, what about the attempt by Democrats to turn the president's ordering of surveillance of al Qaeda communicating with their American agents into the Nixon plumbers, part 2?

MS: Well, I think this is a good example of how even if they were right in a very narrow, legalistic sense, they're just wrong on the basic politics of it. I think Rasmussen had a poll a day or two ago showing that 2/3rd of Americans believed that this National Security Agency should be allowed to intercept phone conversations between terrorist cells in other countries and people living in the United States. And the idea that the Democrats can go to the country and say oh, it's outrageous that this Achmed in Hamburg was calling a number in Virginia and New Jersey, and the government was listening in on the conversations. That is simply not going to play. I don't believe even...the president has essentially become like one of these sort of creatures in a horror movie where the Democrats pump evermore ineffectual bullets into him, over Katrina, over Abu Ghraib, and now over this thing. And none of them resonate with the broader public.

MB: Can I just add onto that, Hugh?

HH: Please.

MB: You know, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the mainstream media that's been pumping this story, has an obvious subtext in all their stories, which is that the American people are going to be horrified when they hear that this is obviously a terrible abuse. Mark is right, and I've the Rasmussen Report figures right in front of me as I'm speaking to you. 64% of Americans believe that National Security Agency should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorist suspects in other countries and people living in the U.S. Only 23% disagree.

HH: That's remarkable.

MB: I'd like going into an election with a 64-23 issue on my side, and 68% say they're following the story closely. So that opinion's likely to be pretty solid. When Rasmussen asked them is President Bush the first one to authorize this, 48% said no, 26% said yes. So the NYT can hyperventilate all it wants. But this is a loser for the Democratic Party.

More on this later, including responses to Chris's comments on my post immediately below. (I have to go running right now or I'll lose my chance to do it today.)


Anonymous Chris Evans said...


The poll shows that 2/3rds of Americans think the NSA should spy on "people living in the United States." But that's a loaded question. It would be more honest to ask, "Do you think the National Security Agency should be allowed to listen to the phone calls of American CITIZENS that they think might have a connection to al Qaeda?" And even that question, while more honest, won't get an accurate response without also clarifying that the NSA has been wiretapping without the oversight of the FISA court.

Only then will you get meaningul poll numbers.


Posted by Chris Evans

Friday, December 30, 2005 3:24:00 PM  
Blogger woof111 said...

.... or for "meaningul" poll numbers you could ask..

Should the NSA be able to hook a supercomputer to a communications satellite and monitor millions of electronic transmissions from FOREIGN COUNTRIES or KNOWN ALQUEDA sources for the words "jihad, death, bomb, infidel, caliphate, attack" and then find out who was a party to this call? 

Posted by gm

Sunday, January 01, 2006 8:21:00 PM  

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