Feb 13 2006

The NSA Election Race

Published by at 11:52 am under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

[Hat Tip RCP Blog]. This year in Arizona, a moderate western state, we will have the NSA election race. Republican incumbent Sen. Jon Kyle is a staunch defender of monitoring terrorists elements here in the US.

The Arizona Republican is one of the most consistent and aggressive defenders of the National Security Agency’s program.

For the head of the Senate’s anti-terrorism subcommittee and a reliable Bush supporter this is, to a degree, predictable.

To Bush devotees on the Right, this stand makes Kyl a hero. To Bush haters on the Left, he is a White House stooge at best and a menace to civil liberties at worst.

His Congressional position and his views on this matter should make him an easy target for a Democrat challenge given the anger and emotion on the far left to this issue. So, in this not too red state we will see the battle over the NSA-FISA issue played out.

But of course, there is the remaining 80% of the electorate to deal with – who have retained their cool and have been keeping an open, serious mind on these matters. The liberal base will run out way ahead of the candidate on this issue – in fact it appears it is already happening:

Jim Pederson, the Valley retail developer seeking the Democratic nomination this year, is not so quick to hammer Kyl for his support of the program – even as the Arizona Democratic Party he used to run repeatedly does so.

State Democratic officials clearly sense some vulnerability.

What will happen? Will the candidate moderate and upset his base? Will his base be so over-the-top they will repulse the moderate majority? Will the Pederson be forced to wage a full court press on the issue and demonstrate the futility of running against defending America and for Terrorists Rights?

Let’s see. So far the impact of the Washington Post story last week has not been absorbed, the one where it became clear FISA was resisting, full force, leads detected by NSA. So what to make of current polls and strategies from them:

Citing last month’s Arizona State University/KAET-TV (Channel 8) poll of Arizona voters that found 51 percent saying they believed Bush “should be required to get approval from the court before authorizing those wiretaps,” the party has blasted Kyl in two news releases since Jan. 29.

“Senator Kyl has really taken a very extreme position on this,” said Harry Mitchell, state Democratic Party chairman and a state senator from Tempe. “Arizonans really want the federal government to obey the law, and that is, go to court. . . . I think people are truly concerned about their civil liberties.”

Well, what would people say to the new reality? Where FISA refuses to use evidence of imminent danger based on the source of the information (a federal agency – called the NSA – whose charter is to defend America) instead of considering the clearness, accuracy and dangerous results of the information. Zawahiri could openly be planning an attack for NY tomorrow and the FISA Chief Justices have stated they would not allow it in court unless it there was independent evidence developed. What would the polls say then?

And now we have an opportunity, in this race, to demonstrate a clear lack of understanding of this issue by the Democrat challenger

Pederson said the president could and probably should obtain warrants through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s special court, but so does Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

Not true. Sadly not true. The FISA Court will not allow NSA leads as core evidence anything from NSA. Why they are being so prudish is beyond common sense. Kyl has the correct bottom line here

“I think the American people know that you need good intelligence, and if there’s no evidence that you are abusing people’s rights, then the commander-in-chief should be given the benefit of the doubt here,” said Kyl, who on Monday will be at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington to deliver an address titled “The NSA Surveillance Program: An Indispensable Tool for Protecting America.”

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