January 13, 2006
Every once in a while you find someone who sums things up rather nicely:
Let's start with a little reality check here. Much of what the NSA and the intelligence community does is in violation of some law somewhere. Indeed, much of what the military does is as well. When the NSA intercepts a communication from France to Afghanistan, it probably violates the privacy and electronic surveillance laws in both countries. When it installs alligator clips on a phone in Turkmenistan, it probably violates some local burglary or trespass law. Espionage - the staple of the CIA - is a felony in almost every nation, and a capitol offense in the U.S. In fact, it is part of the intelligence community's job to try to get people to commit treason. So we are hardly shocked or offended that our government or any government is violating the law.
I still haven't seen much that makes me feel like this is anything worth the investigation and hand-wringing. The program was not kept secret by the White House to the other branches, and was under almost constant scrutiny for reauthorization.
However, as this week's Alito hearing show, Congress likes nothing better than to stand around wringing their hands about their authority.
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