Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Myth, Fact and Comedy

Over at the Carpetbagger Report, Steve Benen has a deliciously insightful deconstruction of that White House "Official Myth vs. Fact" sheet on exactly why it's such a freakin' national disaster that Congress refused to pass that FISA bill.

Excerpts:

MYTH: If any new surveillance needs to begin, the FISA court can approve a request within minutes. In the case of an emergency, surveillance can begin immediately and FISA approval can be obtained later.
FACT: Reverting to the outdated FISA statute risks our national security. FISA's outdated provisions created dangerous intelligence gaps, which is why Congress passed the Protect America Act in the first place.
STEVE: Um, guys? In this case, the "fact" does not disprove the "myth." In fact, it's a non sequitur. The White House presented a "myth," apparently in the hopes of disproving it, and then didn't point to any evidence that actually undermined the veracity of the original claim, which, inconveniently, happens to be accurate.
Or how about this one:
MYTH: The future security of our country does not depend on whether Congress provides liability protection for companies being sued for billions of dollars only because they are believed to have assisted the Government in defending America after the 9/11 attacks.
FACT: Without the retroactive liability protection provided in the bipartisan Senate bill, we may not be able to secure the private sector's cooperation with current and future intelligence efforts critical to our national security.
STEVE: That may sound nice, but this "fact" is plainly false. This administration, or any future administration, can secure the private sector's cooperation with a court order.
I guess this is just another example of how fucking stupid the BFEE really thinks we are. And I guess by and large we are -- we just keep letting them get away with it since to do otherwise would "embolden" the terrorists. Remember the BFEE motto: You're either with us or you're with the terrorists.

2 Comments:

pepsiholic said...

Hey Farns, the democrat who is in charge of the intelligence committe might disagree with you...

Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat, on the Senate floor last week: "What people have to understand around here is that the quality of the intelligence we are going to be receiving is going to be degraded. It is going to be degraded. It is already going to be degraded as telecommunications companies lose interest."

pepsiholic said...

Hey Farns... the real reason that democrats don't want to grant immunity to phone companies:

As Congress debates giving immunity to phone companies that assisted the government in tracking terrorist communications, trial lawyers prosecuting those phone companies have poured money into the coffers of Democratic senators, representatives and causes.

Court records and campaign contribution data reveal that 66 trial lawyers representing plaintiffs in lawsuits against these phone companies donated at least $1.5 million to Democrats, including 44 current Democratic senators. On Wednesday, the Senate held a critical vote on an amendment to the FISA reauthorization that would grant this immunity. It passed, but 29 Democratic senators voted against it. 24 of them have accepted campaign contributions from trial lawyers who are suing the government over those activities.

Two of them are running for President.

Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.), who is in the running for the Democratic nomination, was given $28,650 from trial lawyers listed as counsel for plaintiffs who are suing those companies becuase they turned over phone records as a part of President Bush’s covert phone surveillance program. $19,150 of that was donated in the last year.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y), the other main contender for the Democratic presidential bid, also accepted money from trial lawyers on the case. Records show those lawyers have poured $34,800 to her and her husband’s campaigns over the years. $12,150 of those donations were made to her within the last year.

The other 22 senators who opposed the amendment and have taken similar donations are: Joe Biden (Del.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (M.D.), Chris Dodd (Conn.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Russ Feingold (Wisc.), Teddy Kennedy (Mass.), John Kerry (Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Carl Levin (Mich.) Robert Menendez (N.J.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Harry Reid (Nev.) Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.).

Clinton did not vote Tuesday because she was campaigning. She has, however, voted against granting telephone companies immunity and other FISA reforms in the past.

Since 1997, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) accepted donations from three lawyers working the FISA case that amount to $10,000. The No.2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, who is charged with whipping votes, has accepted $18,350 from 1996 through 2007 from lawyers listed as counsel against phone companies.

Now that FISA has been reauthorized in the Senate, the bill was sent over to the House where an effort to strip the immunity provision is expected. House Republicans are pressuring House Democrats to pass the Senate version of the bill quickly, as it is scheduled to expire on Saturday.

Records show that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) accepted $3,750 in donations to her campaigns and PACs from these lawyers from 1996-2001. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/AmandaCarpenter/2008/02/13/obama,_hillary,_dems_take_fisa_trial_lawyer_cash?page=full&comments=true