Thursday, May 11, 2006

Zack Exley: Two questions for Dems to ask

Domestic spying is once again in the news, thanks to the confluence of two events:
  1. The revelation that it wasn't just calls with overseas Al Qaeda agents but tens of millions (i.e. between 20,000,000 and 100,000,000) of Americans who's call records were being data-mined
  2. Appointment of Gen. Michael V. Hayden (who oversaw the program at NSA) to run the C.I.A. replacing Porter Goss--requiring, heh, heh, confirmation hearings.
Last time domestic spying popped into the news, Sen. Russ Feingold tried to focus some clear attention on it through a Senate resolution—from which most Democrats ran and hid.

This time, however, Zack Exley at the Huff Post offers some easy tactics to keep the issue clear and crisp—even in the face of the predictable chaff that the White House will throw out and the mainstream media will, in Colbert's phrase, type down.

Learn these two questions and ask them relentlessly and repeatedly
  1. "Bush ALREADY HAD the freedom to spy on anyone he wanted - he just had to tell a secret intelligence judge AFTERWARDS, a judge who was sworn to secrecy. So what was he trying to hide from that judge?
  2. "WHO WERE THEY SPYING ON? We need to see a list."
Excley follows those simple "Do's" with the following "Don'ts"
Don't use complicated names of things people have never heard of before like FISA (it sounds like a tax for crying out loud). Don't talk about breaking the law. Don't talk about civil liberties. Don't talk about personal privacy. Don't talk about the Patriot Act. Don't talk about investigations or hearings or special task forces. And for goodness sakes, don't talk about "warrantless wiretaps." Warrants and the bureaucracy that goes with them are what prevent Eddie Murphy from getting the villain in Beverly Hills Cop, or Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, or - should I go on? Do you really want to run in 2006 as that old, depressed, coughing Sergeant who stands in the way of justice for the sake of rules and regulations?
Is that so hard?