Friday, May 12, 2006


NYT Gets It Wrong

In a deceptive and ultimately silly editorial, the NYT comes out against a NSA phone call database. What a surprise. Here are some errors of fact therein.

But if all the details of the program are confirmed, the invasion of privacy is substantial.

The Supreme Court says differently, but of course Smith v. Maryland is not mentioned.

The phone companies are doing a great disservice to their customers by cooperating.

Yea, who would want our Government to try to protect us against terrorist attack? (About 2/3 of America is the answer).

President Bush began his defense of the N.S.A. program yesterday by invoking, as he often does, Sept. 11. The attacks that day firmed the nation's resolve to protect itself against its enemies, but they did not give the president the limitless power he now claims to intrude on the private communications of the American people.

But wouldn't the attacks on 9/11/01 necessarily engage the President his Article II powers as commander in chief of our Armed Forces to combat those waging war on us? The answer is obvious to any right thinking American--what the NYT editors sneer at and call "limitless power" is merely the constitutional duty imposed on President Bush. And there is no intrusion in recording the number dialed.

These editors are legal morons.

Lileks on Hugh Hewitt's show yesterday said, "They want us to connect the dots, but they do not want us to collect the dots.." Better analysis than the NYT appears capable of.

collecting the calling patterns of every American is very intrusive.

Think how easily you could be connected to a terrorist a la six degrees of Qevin al-Bakon.
Very good. But I don't think it's a series of connections as much as it's a a pattern thing. I'm Ok with the phone company having my calling records. Duh. I'd rather they be given to the government for this purpose than sold to telemarketers. Powerline has some good analysis here as does Orin Kerr at Volokh's site. Not obtrusive at all to my way of thinking. But it's no big deal in any event.
You know what?

I hate the telemarketers just as much. When I visit the states, that is one thing that actually makes me feel like I am in a Vonnegut book: when I pick up the phone and I'm talking to a computer.

It is so bizzare and Brave-New-World like, I can barely take it in stride at all.

Still, I don't want my phone records made available to the Government. Can you at least see how that infrigenges on people's ability to associate freely (because of a fear of being labeled a terroist by association)?

Please, I'm not trying to hold a sacred cow here. This is a crucial piece of the argument.

You say you don't mind, but I feel violated. Sure, you have nothing to hide, but to say, well if I have nothing to hide......

That means they can search your car and trunk anytime (which incidentlally they do here) without a warrant?

Is that cool too? I mean as long as I am not trying to hide anything, what difference does it make?

Oh, it is just that whole constitution thing. What a drag. If it weren't for the constitution and basic rights granted under same, we could kill all the terrorists.

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