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11/30/2006
IN WHICH I AM HEARTILY SICK OF GLENN GREENWALD
CATEGORY: Government

Glenn Greenwald has seen fit to “respond” to my post from yesterday in which I asked he and other civil liberties absolutists to “Bite Me” for spending the last two years crying about our “lost freedoms” as a result of the use of the NSA to intercept terrorist phone calls from overseas to their friends in America.

It is truly astounding to watch people incapable of understanding the point that the reason it is wrong and dangerous for the President to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants is because doing so is against the law. Shouldn’t that be a simple enough proposition that every functioning adult ought to be capable of understanding it? It doesn’t mean that everyone has to agree with that proposition — if people want to continue to cling to the theory that the President is unbound by the law concerning matters of national security, obviously they are free to do so.

But there is no excuse for failing to comprehend the objections to the President’s behavior, particularly since the central objection is not all that complicated. To the contrary, it is what we all learn in seventh-grade civics.

One more time: the principal problem with the President’s warrantless eavesdropping is not that he is abusing the secret eavesdropping powers he seized (that is something we do not yet know, because the Congress has not yet investigated that question). Instead, the “problem” is that the President is engaging in the very conduct which the American people, through their Congress almost 30 years ago, made it a felony to engage in, punishable by up to five years in prison — that is, eavesdropping on Americans without judicial oversight.

How many times can you say that it’s impossible to determine the legality of a program you know nothing about? That the technical details, hidden from most of us, were reviewed by the Privacy Board and discovered to be protective of our civil liberties. That in fact, those in Congress who have been briefed on the program have not said one word about it being illegal - including Democrats. Specter and Feingold (and others who mouth off about the program’s legality) have not received the kind of briefing given the intel committees. And apparently, the Privacy Board received an even more substantial briefing than Congress.

Greenwald is, in essence, assuming facts not in evidence. Does he assume that the NSA uses technology and hardware similar to if not exactly the same as domestic law enforcement? Does Greenwald have any idea how that technology is used?

Is Glenn Greenwald a gypsy fortune teller in disguise? Does his “second sight” ability give him insight that the rest of us mere mortals lack?

In short, this hand wringing hysteric is talking through his hat and always has been about the NSA intercept program. And the statements by the Privacy Board (nice job in smearing dedicated public servants Greenwald) would seem to indicate that constitutional protections are carefully observed. (Do you really think Lanny Davis wouldn’t say what he said if he sat on your definition of an “independent” board?)

And thinking he can discredit me or anyone else by referring to me as a “neocon” reveals someone whose extraordinary shallowness is only matched by a breathtaking ignorance of who or what makes a “neocon” - a blindness so endemic on the left that one would think they all came down with a collective case of the stupids and have yet to find a cure for it.

Greenwald has no clue. And trying to spin his way out of trouble by repeating the same, tired and now thoroughly discredited arguments only makes him look like a fool.

UPDATE

The new comment policy is in effect. No insulting me or any other commenter. No obscenity.

Strictly enforced - once I get off the air.

By: Rick Moran at 11:37 am
35 Responses to “IN WHICH I AM HEARTILY SICK OF GLENN GREENWALD”
  1. 1
    Bithead Said:
    12:12 pm 

    As I said at my own place, yesterday:

    It really is astonishing to observe as the media fabricates some storyline out of whole cloth — “Hastings v. Harman!” — and then it just becomes ossified as an immovable and unexamined premise, especially among the most superficial, partisan and mindless pundits, even though it is based on nothing, or next to nothing.

    It shouldn’t come as a shock, Glenn… We on the right’ve been watching it going on for decades, while you on the left and categorically denying it’s been happening. Of course, back then, such fabrications benefited your team. So, you ignored them… at least publicly.

  2. 2
    jpe Said:
    12:48 pm 

    We certainly know enough to know that the program is illegal, and no one has plausibly asserted otherwise (not least of all the Bush administration).

    Greenwald’s point is fairly simple: Presidents should obey federal law. I’m amazed that that is controversial.

  3. 3
    Rick Moran Said:
    12:51 pm 

    We certainly know enough to know that the program is illegal, and no one has plausibly asserted otherwise (not least of all the Bush administration).

    Okay tell me EXACTLY how the program violates FISA?

    ANd if you even bother to respond to that you’re an idiot. You’re guessing. The reason is simple:

    YOU DON’T KNOW.

    Bite me.

  4. 4
    nitpicker Said:
    12:56 pm 

    For the love of God, man. Just accept that the FISA law directly deals with this issue and quit embarrassing yourself. It even includes an explanation of what the president can and cannot do in wartime, so, if a single American citizen had their phones tapped without a warrant, Bush broke the law. Period.

  5. 5
    Gas57 Said:
    12:56 pm 

    Intersting that Greewald had 57 comments in response to his post while there is only one(now two) here. Neither Greenwald nor any other responsible critic of the NSA policy has ever suggested that the survaillance be discontinued, only that it be conducted in accordance with the law. If, as you insist, the neocons are so much smarter than Greenwald and his ilk, how is that their policies have gotten us into the horrible mess we are now in?

  6. 6
    jpe Said:
    12:58 pm 

    “Okay tell me EXACTLY how the program violates FISA?”

    That’s well-understood. It’d be more illustrative for you to explain how warrantless wiretapping doesn’t violate FISA.

  7. 7
    AJB Said:
    1:13 pm 

    And the statements by the Privacy Board (nice job in smearing dedicated public servants Greenwald) would seem to indicate that constitutional protections are carefully observed.

    Why on Earth would a board that was appointed by Bush himself be suitable for judging a Bush program?

  8. 8
    Winston Smith Said:
    1:16 pm 

    “intercept terrorist phone calls from overseas to their friends in America.”

    Sigh.

    That’s never been illegal. Evesdropping on purely domestic calls without a warrant is illegal. The president has admitted that his administration has done this. I can’t give you anymore details because the remaining details are secret.

    Here’s an FYI: secret illegal programs are still illegal.

    Cheers,
    Winston

  9. 9
    ME Said:
    1:18 pm 

    “How many times can you say that it’s impossible to determine the legality of a program you know nothing about?”

    Dude, are you serious? That should read “program that we know a few things about”. Like it’s illegality.

    When we “knew nothing about” the program, we didn’t know it existed. That would be “knowing nothing”.

    We know enough about the program to know that it violates FISA. No serious legal argument can be made otherwise, and you know it (because you fail to make one).

    And your support of it doesn’t make you a neocon as much as an authoritarian, though if you support bringing democracy to Iraq through occupation, you are a neocon too.

    Be proud of what you are! (Or tell us why that label can’t apply to you).

  10. 10
    Derek Jeter Said:
    1:36 pm 

    Guys, a federal judge found it to be illegal. That’s why he can say it’s illegal. Learn a little about law before you shoot off your yaps.

  11. 11
    The General of Eris Said:
    1:36 pm 

    What is absurd is the secrecy associated with this eavesdropping. The mathematics alone would be impenetrable to all but the most dedicated jihadist. But that doesn’t mean the actual methods that the NSA is using are legal.

    A more impressive attempt at Potemkining could have occured if the could have created a board of experts (ie cryptographers, computer scientists, network engineers, etc. profesionals — divorced from every day political concern — familiar with or capable of quickly understanding the capabilities), rather than political operatives, to insure that the program was protecting American civil liberties, I am sure people would be harping about the legality of the whole thing. But this adminstration fears an honest accounting of its programs. The real reason why this is so secret is because it probably is a failure as an effective intelligence tool. The shear inertia of legacy systems dedicated to most telephony and electronic communication in the world combined with the near exponential increase in data-traffic, I would bet the success rate of the NSA is barely above chance. What’s truly hilarious is how the the Adminstration’s apparatchiks defend a program that is most likely a bill of goods being sold to the public as effective counter-terrorism. It will be a useless program until the advent of quantum computing, which is sometime away.

    But how do I know???? HOW DO I KNOW?????

  12. 12
    Bithead Said:
    1:55 pm 

    ANd Democrats wonder why they’ve got the image problems they do, as regards the WOT and national defense.

    (Chuckle)

  13. 13
    Bithead Said:
    1:59 pm 

    Intersting that Greewald had 57 comments in response to his post while there is only one(now two) here

    Now why on earth would THAT be of note? Leftists tend to be more rabid and verbose. This is a revelation?

  14. 14
    jvf Said:
    2:43 pm 

    You write:
    “How many times can you say that it’s impossible to determine the legality of a program you know nothing about?”

    so in other words, trust Bush…

    Bush is not only a liar, he’s a comically bad liar.

  15. 15
    Blue Neponset Said:
    2:44 pm 

    The President has said the following about the program:

    “The NSA program is one that listens to a few numbers,” the president told reporters after visiting with 51 wounded troops and their families at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

    “In other words, the enemy is calling somebody and we want to know who they’re calling and why,” he said before returning to Washington.

    If the NSA “listens” to those number without a FISA warrant then that action is illegal. Why is that so hard to understand?

  16. 16
    liberalpercy Said:
    2:59 pm 

    Your site name is appropos. You definitely belong in the nuthouse if you cannot understand a few simple principles:

    The Constitution requires warrants. Simple matter of showing probable cause. (Protects us from dictators and such).

    FISA set up a court to handle secret warrants and makes it a felony to NOT get a warrant for domestic wiretaps. I.E - there must still be probable cause for even a secret warrant.

    Bush authorized a secret domestic spying program in direct violation of FISA - and has admitted as much - arguing in Federal court that he is above the law.

    What is not in evidence?

    And then you say “That in fact, those in Congress who have been briefed on the program have not said one word about it being illegal.” Duh! Congressmen and Congresswomen can’t talk about it under penalty of law - something they respect more than Bush.

    A simple thought experiment: I’ll try to make it simple enough for you to get your mind around. If it were a Clinton with the power to wiretap anyone they wanted to - without showing probable cause - would you feel as comfortable about that power? If not - then you are a hypocrite.

  17. 17
    headhunt23 Said:
    3:46 pm 

    “Guys, a federal judge found it to be illegal. That’s why he can say it’s illegal. Learn a little about law before you shoot off your yaps.”

    Derek, correct me if I am wrong (I am sure someone will) but I believe that ruling was overturned.

  18. 18
    Captain USA Said:
    3:55 pm 

    If only there were something you could say that would diminish Greenwald’s credibility or increase your own.

    But there isn’t. If there was, you’d have put it in this post.

    You are the weak sauce.

  19. 19
    liberalpercy Said:
    3:59 pm 

    The federal judge’s ruling was not overturned - it was appealed. The ruling was suspened for the appeal.

  20. 20
    liberalpercy Said:
    4:03 pm 

    And - not only was Bush’s program found to be illegal (in violation of Federal Law) but unconstitutional as well (in violation of the Constitution). Those are two different things, legally.

    You may not like Glenn Greenwald, but you have offered nothing to refute him.

  21. 21
    skyeye Said:
    5:05 pm 

    There’s illegal and then there’s illegal, not that I think the NSA monitoring is illegal, I don’t. Mr. Greenwald, hypothetically, if your wife was deathly ill and you were speeding to get her to the hospital, that would certainly be illegal. Would you do it anyway? There is a deadly infection invading this country and it must be stopped as quickly as possible, then we can go back to our pre 9/11 mentality.

  22. 22
    jri Said:
    5:46 pm 

    You really think very highly of yourself, don’t you?

  23. 23
    Winston Smith Said:
    6:10 pm 

    “if your wife was deathly ill and you were speeding to get her to the hospital, that would certainly be illegal. Would you do it anyway?”

    Of course. But I wouldn’t claim that speeding is “legal if you really need to do it.” I would also pay the fine… which brings up another point: this law is more serious than speeding.

    It’s more like this: you’re wife is dying and nees a liver. Her brother is the only know potential donor. Do you kill him and take his liver?

    Cheers,
    Winston

  24. 24
    William Knight Said:
    7:37 pm 

    You saw Greenwald doesn’t have a clue? You denounce him as a handwringing hysteric because he’s talking about the legality of a program with “the technical details, hidden from most of us?”

    A free society is incompatible with secret laws.

    You’re the one without a clue, pal.

  25. 25
    TonyT Said:
    8:33 pm 

    “Greenwald is, in essence, assuming facts not in evidence”

    Dear friend, the technology used is irrelevent. The President is clearly breaking the FISA law and you do not dispute any of Glen’s facts, which are based in law.

    I ask you, seriously, to list his facts and then dispute them one by one. Please. That would be a real argument, not just saying “Glen is looking in a crystal ball.”

    List his assertions of law, and your rebuttals. Please.

  26. 26
    Bob Said:
    12:01 am 

    I’m heartily sick of Bush supporters who were screaming about how sacrosanct the “Rule of Law” was when it was Clinton in the White House. This administration has used 9/11 as an excuse to destroy the rule of law more than any administration in my lifetime.

  27. 27
    wrymouth Said:
    1:22 am 

    “This administration has used 9/11 as an excuse to destroy the rule of law more than any administration in my lifetime.”

    Somehow, I find that statement irrefutable.

    Oh! I am parsing the sentence incorrectly.

    Got it. That would explain why FDR isn’t on Bob’s list.

    When all is said and done, however, I concur with most correspondents here in at least one aspect: either care about All Presidents and All Their Illegal Surveillance, or don’t.

    I actually don’t care, as I have never seen a president (in my lifetime) even begin to rise to the level of tyrant. And I go back to Kennedy. If this came up during Clinton’s presidency, I wouldn’t have cared, either. Or during John Anderson’s, either. ;o) I have always figured the president and his staff have tricks up their sleeve that I know nothing about. It doesn’t worry me. This is America.

    But, I will sincerely give kudoes to those who DO care, as long as they will care when the next guy does it, as well (be he Democrat, Republican or Other).

  28. 28
    peachkfc Said:
    2:04 am 

    I’m sorry, Rick, but “Bite Me” is not a legal argument or any kind of argument that even John Yoo would make. More important, what you seem to be incapable of understanding, or, maybe, what you willfully refuse to understand, is that the technological and alleged “civil liberties protections” details of the Administration’s domestic spying program are irrelevant. The very fact that this “program” even exists is all that is necessary to establish that it is unlawful as it is unquestionably in direct violation of FISA. So, with that out of the way, BITE ME!

  29. 29
    Frederick Said:
    5:39 am 

    “There is a deadly infection invading this country and it must be stopped as quickly as possible, then we can go back to our pre 9/11 mentality.”

    Certainly, just lets not continue with this Pre-November the 7th mentality. Your time is over, as soon as you come to terms with that, we can get on with things.

  30. 30
    george hanna Said:
    9:16 am 

    The gramatically challenged ought to look it
    up. “I asked he…” Jeez.

  31. 31
    jim Said:
    1:54 pm 

    Look, it’s so simple.

    Warrants.

    Warrants warrants warrants warrants.

    The law requires warrants.

    Warrants are easily gotten. 5 out of 15,000 have ever been refused.

    Warrants can be gotten for up to 72 hours after the fact. That’s 3 days.

    There has been no reason EVER presented, for why the Bush administration could not or even should not have gotten warrants.

    Let me present it for you in equation form:

    Legal = surveillance + warrants
    Illegal = surveillance - warrants

    X = (Bush administration wiretapping program)
    X = surveillance - warrants

    Can you solve for X?

  32. 32
    W. Pittman Said:
    7:35 pm 

    “I asked he and other civil liberties absolutists to ‘Bite Me’”

    I asked he? Is that the best you can do with the English language?

  33. 33
    Bugaboo Said:
    9:28 pm 

    If it isn’t illegal why is/was Congress interested in trying to legalize it post-fact and make that legalization retroactive?

  34. 34
    jpe Said:
    12:14 am 

    “Got it. That would explain why FDR isn’t on Bob’s list.”

    That’s a pretty dumb thing to say, wrymouth.

  35. 35
    Annan: Wake Up and Take Control of Nuclear Arms Situation | Election Reporter Pinged With:
    8:17 am 

    [...] RIGHT WING NUT HOUSE: I Am Heartily Sick of Glenn Greenwald [...]

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