Friday, September 07, 2007

The recent arrests in an apparent bombing plot in Germany may well have been helped along by NSA communications intercepts. And that's making Kevin Drum wonder about Dubya's legislative strategy:
Everyone — literally everyone — was immediately willing to amend the FISA law to restore NSA's capability to monitor communications between two foreign locations. ... Instead, we likely lost a couple of month's worth of surveillance because the White House was bound and determined not merely to fix FISA, but to expand its scope dramatically.

That was a helluva gamble. Sure, the German terrorists were already under intense surveillance by German police by that time, but the story from the U.S. folks is that the intercepts from this year were vital to the investigation too. You'd think they'd want to get that back online as soon as possible, especially for a plot whose goal was massive American fatalities. Instead they played politics until the end of July, hoping both for some partisan juju as well as a chance to increase the unfettered power of the executive branch. Nice job, guys.

It's almost as if Dubya's crew wants the intercept program, not just for intercepting communications from foreign threats, but also for something else entirely --- something which, say, the FISA court would find far more disagreeable, but which is important enough to Dubya that they'd hold the entire program hostage until they get it.

Now, what ever could that be?


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