The White House Distorts, K-Lo Transcribes

by on January 30, 2008 · 0 comments

It’s amazing the pernicious nonsense you can find over at NRO:

My understanding, from talking to experts like Andy McCarthy is that if FISA is not reformed, our entire ability to monitor foreign communications — which makes up about 95 percent of what NSA does and probably 50 or more percent of what CIA and DIA do — will be compromised. Which is why my senior administration official said today: “There’s no reason in the world [Congress] shouldn’t stay here and get it done” … “now.”

This is so amazingly off-base that it’s hard to know where to begin. Well, let me just give you a list:

  • FISA has never governed, and does not currently impact, eavesdropping activities that occur overseas.
  • FISA has never governed the interception of wireless communications, even if it occurs in the United States.
  • “Authorizations” under the PAA don’t expire with the sunsetting of the PAA. Any programs “authorized” by the administration over the last six months will continue to be legal until at least August
  • After the PAA expires, the NSA will still be able to seek warrants from the FISA court for eavesdropping activities that aren’t covered by existing “authorizations.”
  • The only reason FISA hasn’t been “reformed” is because the president has threatened to veto reform legislation passed by the House in November in order to hold out for retroactive telco amnesty.
  • The president, who is supposedly so concerned about losing the ability to eavesdrop on terrorists, actually threatened to veto legislation extending the PAA in order to increase the pressure for amnesty.

I’m not sure what business Kathryn Jean Lopez thinks she’s in, but dispensing warmed-over White House talking points certainly ain’t journalism.

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