An editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal, “One Missed Call.”
In Michael Mukasey, President Bush finally seems to have an Attorney General worthy of the current moment. In Nancy Pelosi’s hometown this week, the former judge who once tried terror cases told the Commonwealth Club audience that even he had no idea of the extent of the threat.
Speaking of what he hears in his national security briefings, Mr. Mukasey said, “It is way beyond – way beyond anything that I knew or believed. So, if I was picked for the level of my knowledge . . . that was a massive piece of false advertising.”
As reported by the New York Sun, he also offered a perspective, partly personal as a former Manhattanite, on the necessity of warrantless antiterror surveillance. Before 9/11, Mr. Mukasey said, “We knew that there had been a call from someplace that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn’t know precisely where it went. We’ve got” – here the Attorney General paused with emotion – “we’ve got 3,000 people who went to work that day, and didn’t come home, to show for that.”
The AG also addressed why immunity from lawsuits is vital for the telecom companies that cooperated with the surveillance after 9/11. “Forget the liability” the phone companies face, Mr. Mukasey said. “We face the prospect of disclosure in open court of what they did, which is to say the means and the methods by which we collect foreign intelligence against foreign targets.” Al Qaeda would love that. The cynics will call this “fear-mongering,” but most Americans will want to make sure we don’t miss the next terror call.
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