If opponents of the surveillance program were acting in good faith, why would they mischaracterize the program as domestic spying? I can certainly understand a strong public reaction against a president violating civil rights of American citizens, especially for his own purposes, like Richard Nixon was alleged to have done with his enemies list. In those cases, the president would have a personal or political motive to abuse the civil rights of citizens.
But what sinister motive would President Bush possibly have for eavesdropping on non-terrorists? Does anyone really believe he has anything to do with micromanaging the intercepts, much less selecting the targets of the surveillance? Does anyone really believe the United States has the resources to waste time spying on innocents?
Moreover, does anyone really believe that President Bush, Gen. Hayden, Secr. Rumsfeld or any other major player would support this warrantless surveillance program if it were not necessary? That is, propaganda aside, does any reasonable person truly believe that if we could always accomplish the necessary surveillance by going through the sometimes laborious and time-consuming warrant process, the administration would insist on the right to do it without warrants?
The only people who believe that are those inclined to believe the president wants power for the sake of it, or for the sake of abusing the civil liberties and privacy of American citizens. Folks, that's just silly and absurd on its face.
I am confident the administration would not be conducting warrantless searches unless it believed the delay involved in obtaining a warrant in many cases would jeopardize our national security and possibly American lives. Why is this so difficult to comprehend in an age where terrorists have unlimited access to disposable cell phones and other high-tech communication devices?
The president is not playing war games here, but some of his opponents are playing political games. Fortunately, it appears the American people instinctively understand that the naysayers are long on civil liberties hysteria and short on national security concerns. Let their posturing continue as this public debate unfolds. It is time to have this out and to expose the privacy charlatans for who they are.
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