We’d been waiting to see what Andrew McCarthy had to say about FISA reform (S. 2248); McCarthy directs the Center for Law & Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and is a clear thinker on national security issues. We agree with him, usually, and on the question of telecom immunity, definitely.
The NSA program was a proper exercise of the president’s constitutional power. Even if one disagrees with that, however, any ire should be directed at the president, not telecoms which cooperated in good faith during a time of undeniable crisis. And if one is insistent that national-security surveillance needs court oversight, the solution is exactly what we’re talking about: to improve FISA by legislation so the need for future warrantless surveillance is unlikely. The answer is not to drag the telecoms through lawsuits (expenses for which are passed on to consumers) and disincentivize them from cooperating when we most need their expertise. Such suits, in any event, are just gambits by which privacy extremists and jihadi apologists seek to have courts impose what they can’t persuade the public’s elected representatives to enact.
The other colloquialism of the day: Don’t let opponents kick the can down the road, hoping to achieve their legislative goals — more multibillion-dollar lawsuits, less legal surveillance — through delay and obstructionism.
Blogging on the issue yesterday, columnist Michelle Malkin also cites the warnings against “kicking the can” with terrorist surveillance. And thank you for the citation (from the conference call with Sen. Bond).
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