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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Clinton Used Spy Satellites on Okies in 95, Mainstream Media Yawns; NYTimes Reporter Answers Powerline's Johnson

Michelle Malkin has the details in her latest column here. And so many folks in the mainstream still don't get it when everybody else looks at stuff like this and notes the obvious double standard.

By the way, here's the original story from The McCurtain Daily Gazette documenting how President Bill Clinton utilized spy satellites to search for suspects at a White Supremacist encampment known as Elohim City following the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

In case you are wondering, McCurtain County is in Oklahoma's far southeast corner in the extreme reaches of that part of the Sooner State known to locals as "Little Dixie." The northern part of the state was made up primarily of Unionists and Free Soilers from Kansas. This is why Oklahoma is known as a border state.

Little noted fact: The last Confederate General to surrender in 1865 was an Oklahoman, Gen. Stand Watie, who led a Cherokee calvary unit that fought with distinction at the Battle of Pea Ridge in 1862.


Powerline's Scott Johnson is posting his exchange with Eric Lichtblau, reporter for The New York Times and author of the "scoop" about President Bush authorizing without benefit of a FISA warrant surveillance of telephone calls by American citizens in the U.S. to al Qaeda operatives overseas.

The exchange is particularly revealing of how clearly the reporter either consciously sought to create the appearance of illegality by Bush or he was completely ignorant when he wrote his story of basic facts about the case law that Johnson ably explicates. It's a clear case of the reporter ignoring inconvenient facts and mis-stating contrary court opinions.

As interesting as that element of the exchange is, the most striking element of it is the reporter's initial response:

"Mr. Lichtblau, in your reporting in the Times you appear to have tried to create the impression that the NSA's overseas intercept program is, or may be, illegal. I believe that position is foreclosed by all applicable federal court precedents.
"I assume, for example, that you are aware of the November 2002 decision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, in Sealed Case No. 02-001, where the court said:
"'The Truong court [United States v. Truong Dinh Hung, 4th Cir. 1980], as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. *** We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power.'

"In view of the controlling federal court precedents, I do not see how an argument can be made in good faith that there is any doubt about the NSA program's legality. Therefore, I wonder whether you are somehow unaware of the relevant case law.
"If you know of some authority to support your implication that the intercepts are or may be illegal, I would be interested to know what that authority is. If you are aware of no such authority, I think that a correction is in order.
Thank you."

"Lichtblau to me:
"You must not have read to the end of our original story last Friday. It quotes from the FISA appellate decision that you cite."

Of course the citation the reporter is referencing has nothing to do with Johnson's point and the point of the case cited - that surveillance such as Bush is now criticized for is clearly legal under the chief executive's war powers as Commander-in-Chief.

But note the arch arrogance of Lichtblau's response, which all but says to Johnson "You stupid peasant, how dare you challenge me."

I am reminded of a scene in "Braveheart" when Longshanks is pondering what to do about Wallace's deprivations on York. Longshanks mutters to himself: "If he can take York, he can take London and then it will be my head in the basket."

Just then the homosexual lover of Longshanks' son boldly steps forward and offers his advice about how to handle Wallace.

Amazed, Longshanks whips around and asks "Who is this who dares to address me?" As soon as his son answers, Longshanks grabs the offender and tosses him out a window from a great height.

Do we not hear a similar impatience with a presumptuous inferior in Richtenblau's responses to Johnson?

And these people still don't understand why they are losing their audience.