So the New York Times (belatedly, and conveniently in the wake of the successful Iraqi elections) and the Democrats (predictably) and some grandstanding Republicans (shamefully) are denouncing the President's efforts to keep all of us safe. They're terribly upset that the President has reauthorized, around thirty times, the interception of international communications by people inside the United States who have been determined to have "a clear link" to al- Qaida or related terrorist organizations.
This tender concern for the rights of domestic terrorist contacts is not allayed by the fact that the program has been reviewed every 45 days, using fresh threat assessments, legal reviews by the Justice Department, White House counsel and others, and information from previous activities under the program.
And while they're busy denouncing the President, they conveniently overlook the fact that members of Congress, including Jay Rockefeller, the Democratic head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have been aware of the program for some time -- and that the program had been tweaked to address their concerns and those of government lawyers and others.
As Michelle Malkin points out in her dissection of the Times piece, the program has been instrumental in catching bad guys -- and exploiting the information contained in the cell phones and computers of terrorists captured overseas. Note also the obstruction that can result from a footdragging judge (The Times story points out that, "The judge questioned whether information obtained under the N.S.A. program was being improperly used as the basis for F.I.S.A. wiretap warrant requests from the Justice Department."). Yes, well, while she's thinking that over, the U.S. is losing valuable intelligence.
All the hysteria would be understandable if there were even a scintilla of evidence that somehow the program was being manipulated for political or partisan ends, a la Hillary Clinton's FBI files escapade or the Clinton administration's "coincidental" audits of women who made allegations against the then-President.
The New York Times has done a big favor for America's enemies -- having tipped them off that the next time they're thinking about blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge or exploding bombs in the subways, don't discuss the plot in a phone call. Helpful for the terrorists, not so good for the Americans potentially in harm's way.
How ironic that so many of the moral titans denouncing the President's efforts may well have been protected by them. Of course, when the bad guys decide to destroy some New York landmarks, they won't include the NY Times building. The people in there are more valuable to Al Qaeda alive than dead.
Cross posted at CarolLiebau.blogspot.com.