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  • Morning Bell: The Left's Curious Privacy Priorities

    The far left is apoplectic over Sen. Barack Obama’s announced support for the compromise bill passed by the House last week making essential updates to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The ACLU called the bill the “death march for the Fourth Amendment” and MoveOn.org is launching a campaign against Obama to get him to filibuster the bill in the Senate. Obama’s embrace of common-sense intelligence gathering reform is particularly painful for the left because it undermines all of the hyperbolic claims of lost civil liberties that supposedly occurred during the Bush Administration.

    Passed in 1978, FISA required U.S. intelligence agencies to obtain warrants to monitor all communications made through wire and cable, but allowed agencies to monitor radio and satellite communications freely. At the time, technology was such that cable and wire calls were all domestic while the satellite and radio communications usually involved a foreign recipient. Since 1978, however, technology has changed. Now,  many international-to-international communications pass through wires and cables in the U.S. (think e-mail).

    In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush (in consultation with Congress) instituted a terrorist-surveillance program that did not conform to FISA’s outdated requirements. The details of the program are still classified, but its focus is intercepting international-to-international communications and communications from international targets to people in the United States. Most observers believe Bush’s initial program is substantially similar to the program that the FISA court approved of last year.

    The problem:  The legislation that allowed the FISA court to approve Bush’s program was temporary. This summer, liberals in Congress pushed to have that temporary FISA reform lapse, and now the FISA court can issue only individual warrants —  just as it had to under the 1978 law. The FISA court no longer is authorized to approve sophisticated programs such as the one protecting our country right now.

    Liberals had every opportunity to know Obama would continue to use the same surveillance tools that Bush has. John Brennan, former National Counterterrorism Center director and current foreign policy adviser to Obama, told National Journal earlier this year that he supported giving immunity to telecommunication companies that complied with Bush’s post-9/11 program. And early last week, Obama told ABC News he didn’t oppose the NSA’s surveillance program.

    From the beginning, the left’s rhetoric on this issue was completely overblown. By calling the surveillance program “warrentless wiretapping,” liberals made it seem like the government has routinely violated the Fourth Amendment since 9/11. Nothing could be further from the truth. Monitoring foreign communications no more violates the Fourth Amendment than Customs does when it searches your luggage when you enter the country. To date, privacy absolutists have been unable to point to any actual harm that individual Americans have suffered because of government surveillance. No wonder Obama has announced he will support common-sense FISA reform.

    Quick Hits:

    • According to Rasmussen Reports, 64 percent of Americans believe restrictions on the ownership of handguns violates the Second Amendment.
    • Roadside bomb attacks and fatalities in Iraq are down by almost 90 percent over the last year.
    • According to the Washington Post, European officials are increasingly concerned that Obama’s pledge to talk to Iran without preconditions could rupture U.S. relations with key European allies.
    • According to the New York Times, Obama is just “like any other politician” and has strong ties to ethanol interests in his home state of Illinois.
    • Chinese government hackers have infiltrated more computers on Capitol Hill than initially suspected.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Morning Bell: The Left's Curious Privacy Priorities

    1. Jim Vondras, St.Loui says:

      The ACLU along with several members of the Supreme Court and the Democrats, Second Comming, are Marx/Racial Based proposals.

      The main stream media and major TV Outlets, along with the radicial left, will destroy the United States and the US Constitution.

      The Justice Department, Congress and the Senate are derelic in its sworn duty to protect the Constitution and the People of the United States.

      So far we are witnessing our slide to a National permissive, enabling, socialist society by the actions of our elected and appointed government members in all departments.

      The canidates for President do not have the Leadership or guts to stand up to our enemies.

      We need another Ronald Reagan or Harry Truman.

      God Help America,

    2. Ed, Leesburg VA says:

      The flipping on major, important issues by both candidates is both expected and distressing. What I learn everyday is why I cannot trust either one to do the right thing for America. I think most of us are apt to allow the wink-and-nod promises to wash over us and hope for the best. They all do it, right? So that makes it OK, right? Just trust me, all right? I feel like the wingman in a Blue Angels formation headed right for the ground.

    3. LVKen7, LVegas says:

      If the ACLU is against it,

      IT MUST BE GOOD.

    4. Jolene, Dallas says:

      Good to read this article. Glad to see that Obama has no objections to the same methods.

      After the left, liberals, etc. have persecuted President Bush all of these years for protecting us through this method, perhaps this article will wake up the Bush haters out there. I have not objected to the methods he has used to protect this country from evil. I am glad we have had President George W. Bush, who has taken seriously his job to protect America from harm.

      It is the possibility of people controlling the White House after the election, who want to negotiate and talk with those who would wipe us off the face of the earth if they could – this is what frightens me and worries me for our great country. The Islamofacists do not want to negotiate with us; they do not want peace, they want to kill us. It is not the time to stick our heads in the sand. It is still the time to be extemely vigilant and to protect ourselves.

      Please understand, I do not include people who innocently worship via Islam in the group who would destroy America; although, they should stand up against those who are using their religion for wrong purposes.

      Jolene

    5. PAT PATTERSON says:

      I believe, with the state of our congress, we should consider a benevolent dictator (1 Leader) and all voting on major bills should be made by the people. congress ( I never use caps on something I don't respect) has given itself enough benefits over the years that, all of them want to keep their power base and will actually vote against what's good for America to stay in power.

      It's also my opinion that obama will kill this countries will to fight. To negotiate with the terrorist countries while they're in the midst of killing our troops is ludicrous and, more imoprtantly, we'll LOSE respect. Why do we allow countries to threaten us with terrorists and they'll destroy us while all we do is make a statement that they're deranged. If we stood up and made the staements and decisions that Roosevelt or Truman would have made to those threats, the threats would cease. While some muslims want to die, the majority don't and if we let it be known that they are a heart beat away from having their country and themselves destroyed, I believe fear will cause them to kill the cancer in their countries before it causes them to die en mass

    6. Bob Wilis, Middlebu says:

      Someone needs to ask the question to obama ( see previous letter as to capitals) about his change of religion to Christianity from Muslim. Not too long ago in the news was about an Egyptian man, whose son had changed his religion from Muslim to Christian, pledged to find and kill his son because of the religion change, which according to him was justified because of his religion (Muslim). So back to my question is how was obama allowed to change and still LIVE????

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