Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bush's Spy Program and Echelon Not the Same

Someone at work today actually made this argument today. Next time I hear it, I'll be able to respond with the truth.

Prominent right-wing bloggers -- including Michelle Malkin, the Corner, Wizbang and Free Republic -- are pushing the argument that President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program isn't news because the Clinton administration did the same thing.

The right-wing outlet NewsMax sums up the basic argument:

During the 1990's under President Clinton, the National Security Agency monitored millions of private phone calls placed by U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries under a super secret program code-named Echelon ... all of it done without a court order, let alone a catalyst like the 9/11 attacks.

That's flatly false. The Clinton administration program, code-named Echelon, complied with FISA. Before any conversations of U.S. persons were targeted, a FISA warrant was obtained.

Gotta love this little piece of intellectual dishonesty shimmied in by Michelle Malkin:

There's a wealth of new information and debate in the blogosphere on the NSA special collections program, including non-Bush-bashing independent legal opinions ....

Isn't that neat, how Malkin defines any negative news about Bush policy as being the product of "Bush-bashing"; and considers an "independent legal opinion" as "any information source that supports Bush"?

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