Jul 24 2006

Specter Calls It Quits On NSA

Published by at 12:47 pm under All General Discussions

Arlen Specter is well intentioned when he voices his concerns about abuse of power. There have been examples of abuse of power throughout mankind’s history. The problem Specter has always had to face is that, good intentions aside, national security requires the use of power. And there is no way to provide the President, under Article II, the authority to use this nation’s might and power to protect us without giving him powers that could be used wisely or abused. It is called ‘responsibility’.

In this age of dying liberalism – under which responsibility was all but abolished – it is understandable that this is a foreign and frightening concept to many. The dream of some abstract structure that will guide humankind, as if God himself was building the path to heaven, has been a fairy tale of all leftwing movements. Communism and socialism and liberalism all pine for some magic rule book which can simultaneously remove all responsibility from people so they can do no harm, and put all that responsibility in the hands of organizations and groups who will do no harm. The fallacy is the fact that those same organizations are made up of those very same feared creatures called ‘human beings’ who could no be trusted with responsibility in the first place.

Specter has finally had to face the fact that our Commander in Chief has the power and the responsibility to wage the war on terror and protect us from real attacks, not theoretical threats against our civil liberties.

The president has insisted that he was acting lawfully within his constitutional responsibilities. On its face, the program seems contrary to the plain text of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which regulates domestic national security wiretapping. The president argues, however, that his inherent constitutional powers supersede the statute. Without knowing the exact contours of the program, it’s impossible to say whether he is right or wrong. But three federal appeals court decisions suggest the president may be right.

Critics complain that the bill acknowledges the president’s inherent Article II power and does not insist on FISA’s being the exclusive procedure for the authorization of wiretapping. They are wrong. The president’s constitutional power either exists or does not exist, no matter what any statute may say. If the appellate court precedents cited above are correct, FISA is not the exclusive procedure. If the president’s assertion of inherent executive authority meets the Fourth Amendment’s “reasonableness” test, it provides an alternative legal basis for surveillance, however FISA may purport to limit presidential power. The bill does not accede to the president’s claims of inherent presidential power; that is for the courts either to affirm or reject. It merely acknowledges them, to whatever extent they may exist.

Specter has had to face the cold hard fact that the judicial branch has confirmed this fact of life – Bush has the authority to act to protect us. Bush was voted into office and he has been given the power to do what is necessary. What is interesting is as Specter capitulates to Bush, he still cannot site one instance of abuse. He only fears there is a chance of abuse. Well, there is a chance, which is why we have to chose our leaders carefully.

One response so far

One Response to “Specter Calls It Quits On NSA”

  1. OLDPUPPYMAX says:

    Like all devout believers in the leftist agenda, Specter finds nothing quite so fearsome as the unfettered ability of free individuals to exercise those rights and liberties which the founders so rightly describe as unalienable. For nothing represents such a threat to the authority of these self-richeous aristocrats as the widespread realization that their interference is unwelcome and their advice unnecessary.