Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Who is watching?

Yahoo has a Reuters story about terrorist cells inside the United States: (not bothering to link because Yahoo news stories aren't permanent)

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement authorities are discovering new home-grown cells of Islamist radicals in the United States that draw inspiration and moral support from al Qaeda, officials said on Tuesday.

Like local terrorism cells that have recently come to light in Canada and Europe, officials said the groups are comprised of disaffected young men in their teens and 20s who rely on the Internet to try to organize and plan potential attacks on the U.S. homeland.

A few months ago, when the warrantless wiretapping story broke, Republicans staunchly defended the program as necessary to defend us. There were numerous claims that baby-eating liberals "didn't want us to use all the weapons in our arsenal" against the terrorists.

What has never been entirely determined is whether there was a similar program in which the NSA was deliberately wiretapping the entirely domestic communications of US citizens. If there was such a legitimate, legal program (i.e. that complied with FISA), then great. But why couldn't a similar program be used in the case of what we now know were (are?) warrantless wiretapping? And if there was no such program domestically, I can think of only two possiblities:

  1. Why was this administration oblivious to a threat in our midst that they had to know was at least feasible?
  2. There was (is?) such a program, and it is grossly unconstitutional, and the administration knows it.

Surely I can't be the only one wondering about these questions.

Glenn Greenwald over at Unclaimed Territory is a lawyer that has been following this issue, and writing about it. He's calm, quite reasonable, and offers well-thought-out analysis.

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