Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Wisdom of The American People Shines Through Again

Rasmussen has been polling on the Bush Administration's surveillance of suspected terrorists' phone calls. Here are the results. Excerpt:

Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency
(NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism
suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen
Reports survey found that just 23% disagree. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of
Americans say they are following the NSA story somewhat or very closely. Just
26% believe President Bush is the first to authorize a program like the one
currently in the news. Forty-eight percent (48%) say he is not while 26% are not
sure.

Not surprisingly, there is a partisan split here:

Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans believe the NSA should be allowed
to listen in on conversations between terror suspects and people living in the
United States. That view is shared by 51% of Democrats and 57% of those not
affiliated with either major political party.

I am sorry to say it, but many intelligent people of my acquaintance seem so blinded by their anger toward President Bush that they reflexively condemn the NSA surveillance, and do so with a moral and legal certainty that is quite impressive. To me, the weight of legal scholarship on the question of the legality and consitutionality of the surveillance is that only supportable anti-Bush conclusion is that his authority to order it is debatable. To ignore all that information and discussion and start talking about impeaching Bush seems to me to be evidence that those anti-Bush folks are not engaging in serious thinking.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Chris Evans said...

Lowell,

You can count me among the Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans that believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States.

However, you are either missing or ignoring the point that is the crux of the issue... HOW the surveillance was authorized. The president circumvented the courts to conduct his surveillance on American citizens, seemingly because the courts were an inconvenience to him. It doesn't make sense to me. His own Patriot Act loosened the restrictions on obtaining court orders for surveillance, but even that wasn't good enough.

The numbers speak for themselves. Since FISA was enacted, more than 15,000 warrants have been issued and no more than 6 requests TOTAL have been denied. That's a 0.04% rejection rate. And provisions are in place to begin emergency surveillance when needed.

There was a system in place, but Mr. Bush's contempt for (or ignorance of?) the law led him to authorize surveillance without the oversight of the court. But what else is new for this Administration that has enjoyed almost negligible oversight from any branch of government?

Personally, I think it's shamefull of you to try to present this issue in the way you have here. It's not that we're against NSA surveillance; it's that we're against illegal activity that infringes upon our rights to privacy.

Would you be so defensive of William Jefferson Clinton had he done this? 

Posted by Chris Evans

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 2:53:00 PM  
Anonymous DL said...

It's a Democracy so let's vote on it- sort of like all those who feel this is evil and are willing to remove homeland security from your state, vote yes?

Isn't it the Blue states that are the most desirable after targets?
 

Posted by DL

Thursday, December 29, 2005 3:50:00 AM  
Blogger woof111 said...

Would you be so defensive of William Jefferson Clinton had he done this?

He did..
http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/199511/msg00003.html

http://www.drudgereport.com/flash8.htm

http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20051222-122610-7772r.htm 

Posted by gm

Sunday, January 01, 2006 8:30:00 PM  

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