December 20, 2005

Patrick Keefe on NSA via slate

Posted in Politics at 6:52 pm by antonello

My former co-star, security wunderkind and secrets dehoarder extraordinaire breaks down the NSA debacle on slate today.  Patrick denounces W but also has some strong words for Congress’ lack of oversight and editorial pages:

To be sure, the Times story is a bombshell. And if President Bush and Alberto Gonzales continue to argue that warrantless eavesdropping was justified under the authority granted by Congress after Sept. 11, this story will be an important chapter in the narrative of the Bush administration’s promotion of executive power. But the shock—shock—professed in Congress and on editorial pages that a U.S. intelligence agency would exceed its mandate and play fast and loose with statutory and constitutional curbs? That seems at best naive and at worst a too-little-too-late gesture by the very people who should have seen this coming.

Interestingly, Patrick ends the article with this tidbit: in 2002, then-head of the NSA Michael Hayden asked for Congress’ help in finding the line between security and freedom.  Congress didn’t do its part, and apparently the NSA and W stepped into the vacuum of protest.

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