Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Terroist Alarm Clock

If you watched the SOTU last night, you no doubt heard how if the Senate doesn't pass the FISA bill, the terrorist will attack AT 12:00 AM THURSDAY! Well, not so much. As Dahlia Lithwick explains.

"[W]arning the Congress that, with respect to FISA, "[I]f you do not act by Friday, our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger." This is classic Bush-speak: Specify the precise day on which we will all suddenly become less safe while skateboarding over the nature of the danger or the proposed fix.

Similar FISA alarm clocks were ringing all over the place this week. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warned from the Senate floor: "The terrorists are not going to take a vacation a few weeks from now or six months from now or next year." He upped the ante: "The American people should be frightened." Roger Pilon warned in the Wall Street Journal that "the clock is ticking." But which clock? Where is the big terrorist alarm clock that sounds every time the president doesn't get his way?"

Did you get that? "the terrorist are not going to take a vacation..." and we "should be frightened."

But, guess what? FISA does not stop if the Senate doesn't extend the PAA bill.

"If the PAA had been allowed to expire this week, or is permitted to do so in two more weeks, it would not mean FISA itself expires, as some sloppy reporting has consistently implied. It would mean that expanded secret authority to spy on Americans without connections to terrorism—allowed by Congress last summer—would not be immediately extended. Existing warrants will survive the new deadline and live a long and healthy life thereafter. FISA itself will still be in effect. In other words, if a terrorist attack were to be launched against America on the same day the PAA expires, it would not be because Senate liberals had turned out the lights on intelligence-gathering."

There needs to be enough time to come up with a bill that protects our liberties, not protect the Republicans fear mongering.

via Slate



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