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Taking The Patriot Post To Task...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I receive, via email, The Patriot Post newsletter. This is a publication put out by a right-wing organization that I like to read from time to time. Occasionally, they go way to the right and I just have to ignore it, but this week's post is just such a blatant collection of lies, half-truths, and misrepresentations of fact that I had no choice but to let 'em have it. I've reprinted the article in question below, as it is available only to subscribers. You can subscribe for free here, ...if you really want to.

Bug 'em and bag 'em!

Eight months after George W. Bush was sworn in as our 43rd President, al-Qa'ida terrorists, under the direction Osama bin Laden, hijacked four commercial jets and used them to kill almost 3,000 of our countrymen, all of them noncombatants in a decades-old asymmetric war between Islamofascists and liberty. (Truth be told, Osama bin Laden actually intended to destroy America's symbols of strength and power. This can be deduced from his choice of targets. The people that were killed in the events of September 11, 2001, were technically innocent bystanders and not his primary targets. It's kind of like when women and children get killed when we bomb a suspected terrorist hangout in Iraq or Afganistan.)

Three days after that bloodshed, the U.S. Senate and House voted 98-0 and 420-1, respectively, to authorize the President by war resolution "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." (I wrote a piece that tries to explain, in more detail, the meaning behind this misconstrued and tortured bit of legislation. I suggest you read it.)

Bin Laden and his terrorist cadre planned the 9/11 attack during the last three years of Bill and Hillary Clinton's regime, training the cell leaders and pre-positioning assets in the U.S. Bin Laden's actions were largely unabated by the Clinton administration, which was more interested in sending thousands of federal agents to search for a lone abortion-clinic bomber in the mountains of North Carolina than killing or capturing Osama. Eric Rudolph was a much more politically attractive target than Bin Laden back in 1998. Unfortunately, Rudolph evaded capture during that two-year manhunt. In the same time period, the CIA and military had several opportunities to take clear shots at Osama—but Clinton declined.

Fortunately, since 9/11, there have been no "future acts of international terrorism against the United States," in large measure because of the vision and determination of President Bush to implement his Doctrine of Preemption. Mr. Bush and our Allies dispatched the best fighting forces on earth, to Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations undisclosed, in an effort to take the fight to the enemy—the only way to prevail in The Long War against an asymmetric threat, particularly in the nuclear age. (Senator Biden, when speaking before the Senate during the deliberations for Senate Joint Resolution 23--Authorization for Use of Military Force, remarked that the "resolution is directed only at using force abroad to combat acts of international terrorism.")

Terrorists have not struck again, but there have been plenty of acts of treason against the United States.

Terrorists have not been able to strike again, but there have been plenty of acts of treason against the United States, most of which have been led by political opportunists like Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, John Kerry, Chuck Schumer, et al. (Just a quick note to clarify something. Exposing the illegal activity of another is not and never will be considered treasonous. Only the guilty consider such actions treasonous.)

Insisting they "support our troops," these consummate leftists have emboldened the enemy by attacking our troops' Commander in Chief, with the insalubrious goal of gaining political ground. In other words, key Democrats are willing to use the lives of America's Armed Forces for nothing more than campaign fodder, going into midterm elections.

The Left's labors to undermine the administration's effort to protect the U.S. from a catastrophic WMD attack know no bounds. (Is the author trying to scare the reader into complicity by evoking images of being fried by a nuke? Come on! Make no excuses for bad behavour!)

In recent weeks, the Left attempted to derail the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act. As you know, first and foremost, the Patriot Act removes most of the legal and bureaucratic barriers preventing law enforcement and intelligence authorities from sharing vital information about terrorists and terrorist organizations targeting the U.S. and our citizens around the world. Implementation of the Patriot Act has, according to well placed intelligence sources, resulted in the prevention of significant terrorist acts on U.S. soil, including two interdictions of WMD, one of those being nuclear WMD. (For more details on the latter, see next week's edition.) (...and all it costs you is your liberty!)

As the debate about Patriot Act reauthorization got underway in mid-December, it became clear that Democrats are making "privacy" a central theme of their midterm-election campaigns. Concurrent with that debate, but hardly coincidental, on 16 December The New York Times published a front-page story accusing President Bush of using the NSA to spy on U.S. citizens without a court order. As you now know, the story detailed how the National Security Agency targeted certain communications between known international terrorists and their U.S. counterparts or supporters.

Of course, the timing of the story not only bolstered the Democrats' privacy complaints against the Patriot Act, but it was dropped the same week Time's reporter James Risen released his book ostensibly detailing all kinds of Patriot Act abuses.

The New York Times knew a year ago that President Bush violated no laws related to NSA surveillance. (About the same time the President was running for re-election. As I hear it, it was the administration that asked the paper to hold off on running the story. I wonder why?)

The Times and all their follow-up media claim their articles are "in the national interest" —to determine if President Bush has broken any laws authorizing the NSA surveillance. However, The Times had already determined, a year earlier when information about the NSA's surveillance program was first leaked, that President Bush had not violated any laws related to procedures outlined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. The President's actions were fully within his prescribed constitutional authority. (If he authorized the NSA to use warrantless surveillance on U.S. persons, he broke the law! See below for more details.)

"The Constitution vests in the president inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot by statute extinguish that constitutional authority," wrote Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2002. (If he's implying that it authorizes surveillance of U.S. persons, then he's wrong. The authority is no where in my copy of the constitution. In fact, my copy says get a warrant. (Which copy does he have?) However, if he's talking about foreigners and foreign governments, not U.S. persons, then his statement is correct.)

General Ashcroft's opinion was similar to that of previous administrations. Back in 1994, after the first attack on the World Trade Center by Islamists, Clinton's Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick argued, "The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General." (Again, as long as he's talking about foreigners and foreign governments, not U.S. persons, then his statement is correct.)

The only law that has been broken pertains to the illegal release of national-security information. (Lie!)

In fact, the only law that has been broken in regard to the NSA's activity is U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 37, Section 798, pertaining to the illegal release of national-security information.

Ironically, when former CIA case officer Valerie Plame was identified by the press as being with the CIA last year, Democrats were in full protest, accusing the Bush administration of disclosing the information to The Times as political retribution and calling for an independent counsel and a full investigation. They got that investigation, and it resulted in no criminal charges of a leak, because Plame was not a covert officer at the time she was identified as being with the CIA, and her name was mentioned by an administration official only after her husband, Joe Wilson, wrote an article for The Times about his CIA mission to determine if Iraq was procuring yellow-cake uranium from North Africa. (A classic case of misdirection. It doesn't excuse their actions.)

The exposure of Plame's association with the CIA had exactly NO implications or consequences for U.S. national security. However, the exposure of the NSA's methods and capabilities in regard to intercepting communications between terrorists targeting the U.S. has significant and immediate implications for our national security. (Tell that to all the over-seas operatives that had to run for cover when it was revealed that they were either now or had in the past been associating with a CIA operative.)

Why? Well, for example, in 1998, as al-Qa'ida was preparing their 9/11 attack, the NSA was tracking electronic communications from senior al-Qa'ida operatives, including Osama. When that information was leaked to, and by, the press, Osama disposed of his old satellite phone system and set up a whole different set of communication protocols, thus eluding detection of his 9/11 plans.

The same realignment of communication protocols is now taking place as a result of The Times NSA disclosure.

"It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war." --President Bush ("It was a shameful act for an American President to trash the Constitutional protections of the American people." --Don Bangert)

"Our enemies have learned information they should not have," said President Bush this week. "The unauthorized disclosure of this [NSA] effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies and endangers our country... It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war." Treasonous, actually—and the Justice Department will soon determine which Democrat operative is the culprit. (So, you're declaring war on the Democratic Party? While you're at it, why don't you take a couple Republicans with you. You're all a bunch of crooks (save a few)! How dare you call it treasonous to expose tyrannous actions by our elected officials. They swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, and now they're wiping their collective butts with it!)

More to the point, former NSA director, Gen. Michael Hayden, said last week, "This program has been successful in detecting and preventing attacks inside the United States." Indeed it has, as we noted above. (...and it was also Mr. Hayden, testifing before Congress, who said, "Let me put a fine point on this. If, as we are speaking here this afternoon, Osama bin Laden is walking across the bridge from Niagara Falls, Ontario, to Niagra Falls, New York, as he gets to the New York side, he is an American person. And my agency must respect his rights against unreasonable search and seizure." From the Congressional Record, page S9350, dated September 13, 2001. Interestingly enough, that quote was taken from an article that originally appeared in a Washington Post Magazine article titled TEST OF STRENGTH, July 29, 2001, by Vernon Loeb, well before September 11, 2001.)

So where are the Democrats protesting this traitorous leak—and demanding investigations? Don't hold your breath... Ironically, the Democrats have made "intelligence failures" the staple of their criticism of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now they seem determined to ensure intelligence failures.

As for The New York Times, to date, it has not even answered its own ombudsman's inquiry about the timing of its 16 December article. Not to be outdone by The Times, national media outlets have, in the last two weeks, published irresponsible headline stories on other intelligence methods, including secret U.S. detention centers for captured terrorists around the world and technology used in major cities to detect transit of fissile material.

Democrats' objections to the Patriot Act have nothing to do with civil liberties and everything to do with political appearances. (Hell, the Patriot Act has nothing to do with civil liberties... oh, wait, that's the problem with it!)

For now, the Left got what it wanted—Patriot Act debate was reauthorized but put on a very short renewal lease of only one month. So the debate begins all over again this month. Regarding the privacy issue, The Patriot editors certainly advocate for redundant oversight of all domestic surveillance procedures because of the potential for civil-liberty abuses. But Democrats' objections to the Patriot Act have nothing to do with civil liberties and everything to do with political appearances.

There is no place for such trivial objections on the warfront with a determined enemy.

Below is my response that I tried to post to the Comments page at Patriot Post. It was intended to chastise them for their blatant misrepresentation of the facts concerning the actions of our president and his henchmen, as well as what the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act actually says and what it allows.

In your apologetic and, quite frankly, disgusting article that excuses the president from his trashing of our constitution, you quote then Attorney General John Ashcroft as saying:

"The Constitution vests in the president inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot by statute extinguish that constitutional authority."

I totally agree with what he says. But the way you presented his quote is to somehow demonstrate that the president can circumvent our fourth amendment protections. If you were being honest with your readers, you would have also included some other important factors that are included in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But, since you want to be a sycophant for the Bush administration, I'll have to do it for you. The FISA, a.k.a. Title 50 Chapter 36, defines "Electronic surveillance" as--

1) the acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device of the contents of any wire or radio communication sent by or intended to be received by a particular, known United States person who is in the United States, if the contents are acquired by intentionally targeting that United States person, under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes.

"A warrant would be required..." Seems pretty clear to me. Even the statute's definition recognizes the limitations that are in place. But in case you're too pig-headed to understand that, lets look at the actual authorizing statute (50USC36§1802(a)):

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that--

(B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.

It's pretty clear language. If the communications subjected to surveillance might kinda sorta possibly have a remote chance that they may involve a "U.S. person", YOU MUST GET A COURT ORDER! The fourth amendment is still in operation.


Blogger Don Bangert said...

Just a quick note: I just checked the Comments Page (over an hour has past since I submitted my comment) and my submission still hasn't been posted. They have a disclamer at the top that says that they only post between 10 to 15 posts per week. At the time of my posting, there were nine other posts. So, my post not showing can't be due to too many posts.

What's ironic is the disclaimer as the bottom of the page stating, "The Patriot is a publication of Publius Press, Inc. Copyright © 1981-2006 Publius Press, Inc. The Patriot is protected speech pursuant to the "inalienable rights" of all men, and the First (and Second) Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America." If only those rights extended to everyone...

If you want to check to see if my post has been added to their comments page, go here.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Jake Porter said...

I am a Republican, I was taught by the publik edjucaten cystem and the new world order.

I just want to say I love martial law and the police state and all it stands for.

Not really, good post but rememeber they have listened to the government lies since they were born. They probably believe everything they here. America is a democracy, selective service is something we need, the federal reseve was not started by the globalists. They don't know better.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

You make some good points, Don, although I don`t necessarily agree with them all. Still, they are well thought out and the Patriot is wrong to not post your comments.

7:28 AM  

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