Monday, October 29, 2007

WaPo: Wyden going "too far" with this crazy talk about warrants for surveilling US citizens

From Saturday's Post:

Immunity aside, both the Senate and House bills would create a strong oversight role for the special court that oversees FISA. Under both measures, the court would review the procedures used to determine that targets of surveillance are outside the United States and to effect the "minimization" measures designed to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens whose communications are inadvertently intercepted.

The Senate measure would expire in six years while the House version would expire in less than two years, along with provisions of the USA Patriot Act; the shorter House time frame is preferable. An amendment to the Senate bill by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden would go too far by requiring that a warrant be obtained when U.S. citizens are the target of surveillance overseas; this would be an unnecessary and potentially disruptive precedent.

Yeah, come on, Senator Wyden--what country do you think we live in, anyway? America? Jeez.

"Unnecessary" and "disruptive," says the Post? Memo to Fred Hiatt: Judicial oversight is meant to be disruptive, at least to the extent that it impedes an executive branch that would otherwise be gliding effortlessly in the direction of its own worst impulses.

I also love that first phrase--"Immunity aside"--tossed in with such studied nonchalance That's the editorial equivalent of "Other than that"--as in "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"

It's a sad state we've reached: Thirty years ago, the Washington Post was synonymous with standing up to government lawlessness. A generation of students entered journalism school for no other reason than that ideal. Now its editors find the very idea of oversight in any form "unnecessary."

(H/t to Americablog. Cross-posted at Loaded Orygun".)

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