Yesterday, in a ruling in the 6th Circuit, a federal judge, Anna Diggs Taylor, ruled the NSA’s eavesdropping program (TSP) illegal. Her opinion, link here, makes for interesting reading. This non-lawyer cannot pretend to understand the fine points of case law, precedent, standing, and the rest, but I, lke the judge, also have an opinion.
All of the case law seems to discuss the rights of US citizens to be protected from abuses at the hands of the government. Criminal activity, while illegal, does not allow the government, in its prosecution or investigations, to ignore the basic rights of the citizen. A presumption of innocence is paramount. No argument from this citizen.
To me, the key question should be whether or not an American citizen, or legal alien, who collaborates with a foreign terrorist organization, is guilty of a criminal act or an act of war. This question goes directly to the issue of how our nation chooses to fight terrorism. The Clinton administration took the view that the attacks of Al-Qaeda were criminal in nature, although I fail to understand how robbery, kidnapping, theft, et cetera equate with a para-military group bombing US facilities in foreign countries and killing US soldiers. Further, I fail to understand how the same terrorist organization can bomb and kill US citizens in this country without such actions being considered an act of war.
The Bush administration, after September 11, considered the nation to be at war with Al-Qaeda. As such, Mr. Bush has the authority, as commander-in-chief, to conduct a war against that enemy and its allies, using the full range of powers vested in the Commander-in-Chief, as granted by the Constitution.
Are we at war, or we are combatting crime? Should Al-Qaeda and its minions have the same rights and protections as a 4th generation Italian-American member of the Mafia, whose primary goal is to hijack trucks loaded with cargo leaving JFK airport?
Lastly, was the FISA law enacted because civil libertarians were concerned that our police were abusing their powers in criminal investigations; or was it a political reaction to presidential abuse of wiretapping aimed at political opponents? I think the latter.
I think we are at war with an implacable enemy that does not recognize the Rule of Law, the Geneva Conventions, and will, in fact, use any technique, no matter how heinous, to do further harm to our country and our people. In my opinion, to think otherwise is naive, short-sighted, and ultimately dangerous.
Therefore, it is the order of this Pundit that the motions of the plaintiffs be dismissed without prejudice, with the understanding that the actions of "this president" are "indisputably" legal, correct, and authorized under the Constitutution of these United States.
Under My Hand,