May 14 2006

Do We Want To Stop A Terrorist Attack Or Not?

Published by at 8:50 am under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

The Baltimore Sun has a story out today which confirms what I have been posting for months regarding the NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program and what changed in the NSA mission post 9-11. My first point was that prior to 9-11, if the NSA was listening in on a Al Qaeda switchboard in Yemen, and if the 9-11 terrorists were calling that switchboard, coordinating their efforts a year before the attacks, the NSA would not be able to notify domestic law enforcement (FBI) to the threat. Even if they recorded plans of the pending attack, they would throw the information away.

Does this sound far fetched? 9-11 terrorists Midhar and Hamdi entered the US in 2000 and took up residency in San Diego. They maintained contact with Al Qaeda overseas through a swtichboard in Yemen (and probably with Atta in Germany). It was one of many opportunities to detect and stop the massacre of 3,000 innocent lives on 9-11, but antiquated traditions held that we could not risk bridging the civil liberties of Americans, even in the face of such death and destruction.

Keep that in mind when you read this story about General Hayden:

Hayden, a cerebral leader whose specialty is setting broad visions for sprawling government bureaucracies, faced a number of difficult challenges after Sept. 11. Among the obstacles was a legal one: NSA employees had long been technically capable of tracking phone calls that either originated or ended in the United States but they were frustrated at being legally required to stop tracking calls as soon as potential suspects dialed someone in the States, and they could not listen to purely domestic calls.

Emphasis mine. The news media tend to run right by this issue without exploring the implications and the veracity. There is no law that says the NSA cannot monitor all the calls of a legal surveillance. But there needs to be common sense in interprting laws and the Constitution. No one who is serious believes laws are meant to be suicide pacts. We should not use privacy issues to allow someone to die in the street from an accident, or from a terrorist attack.

Hayden mentioned this serious problem of short sightedness pre 9-11 when he discussed the leak of the NSA program by the NY Times:

“I [Hayden] testified in open session to the House Intel Committee in April of the year 2000. At the time, I created some looks of disbelief when I said that if Osama bin Laden crossed the bridge from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York, there were provisions of U.S. law that would kick in, offer him protections and affect how NSA could now cover him.”
He admits that we knew that Mohamed Atta and his crew were in the US. But he says that “we did not know anything more” because prior to 9/11 “Mohamed Atta and his fellow 18 hijackers would have been presumed to have been protected persons, U.S. persons, by NSA “.

The Specter’s and the liberal media and the desperately opportunistic leftwing all miss the point of this debate. We cannot allow terrorists to plan their attacks with impugnity in this country. I am not going to risk my family to protect my phone number from the NSA (while every telemarketer in the world has access t to it AND my name). I am not going to risk my family because some leftwing paranoid nut is worried the NSA is monitoring his 1800-SEX calls. We could have stopped 9-11 if the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program. That is the bottom line.

Have any of these people thought about the repurcussions of shutting down these programs?  Has anyone speculated on what the terrorists would do knowing we went back to the good old days when the NSA could not alert the FBI when they detected terrorist amongst us, ready to attack?  Well I can.  I can envision the activation of tens of terrorist cells with plans in hands, ready to deal us a massive blow the minute the window of opportunity opened.  What do you think these animals live for?

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Do We Want To Stop A Terrorist Attack Or Not?”

  1. Dwain says:

    “It was one of many opportunities to detect and stop the massacre of 3,000 innocent lives on 9-11”

    I don’t think I have ever heard anyone state how fortunate it was that the towers stayed up so long and let most of the people in them get out.

    Let’s not ever forget how lucky it was that only 3,000 innocent lives were taken. It could easily have been 30,000 killed. They were just lucky and very brave, I think.

    The towers did collapse, yes, but they stayed up long enough that most of the people in them were able to escape. The towers must have been built pretty well, actually.

  2. MerlinOS2 says:

    AJ a good point is made by the post today at Newsbusters

    Even though they specifically did not make the connect I drew from the piece is that there is an obvious bias to the sources they rely on. If it were a “fair and balanced” group, he would not have been so astonished at the outcome of the polls.

    A good reporter, reports both pro and con on an issue to inform their readers/watchers to allow them to make their own determination based on informed opinion.

    I am begining to wonder if the MSM should register as a 527 pac.

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