Monday, December 10, 2007

Take My Job...PLEASE!

In an extraordinarily disgusting op-ed in the NYT today, (entitled 'Help Me Spy on Al-Qaeda') DNI director Mike McConnell extols the virtues of throwing out the 4th Amendment for the purposes of making his job easier:

Before the Protect America Act was enacted, to monitor the communications of foreign intelligence targets outside the United States, in some cases we had to operate under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, a law that had not kept pace with changes in technology. In a significant number of these cases, FISA required us to obtain a court order. This requirement slowed — and sometimes prevented — our ability to collect timely foreign intelligence.
For the record, the FISA court acts like a secret grand jury of judges...if you want to spy on a ham sandwich, just say the word. But when the government's case is especially specious, they have been known to turn down a ridiculously low number of applications. But I digress...

Any new law should begin by being true to the principles that make the Protect America Act successful. First, the intelligence community needs a law that does not require a court order for surveillance directed at a foreign intelligence target reasonably believed to be outside the United States, regardless of where the communications are found. The intelligence community should spend its time protecting our nation, not providing privacy protections to foreign terrorists and other diffuse international threats. (Emphasis added.)
So, if I read this correctly, the government has to show (up to four months post facto) that it "reasonably believes" that the information it taps is of foreign origin, but can still be considered "regardless" of where it is actually collected.

No warrant. No judge. Our safeguards are reduced to the 'reasonableness' of our government.

Pardon me if I don't feel any safer.

No comments: