Debra Burlingame speaks for me:
We now have the ability to put remote control cameras on the surface of Mars. Why should we allow enemies to annihilate us simply because we lack the clarity or resolve to strike a reasonable balance between a healthy skepticism of government power and the need to take proactive measures to protect ourselves from such threats? The mantra of civil-liberties hard-liners is to “question authority”–even when it is coming to our rescue–then blame that same authority when, hamstrung by civil liberties laws, it fails to save us. The old laws that would prevent FBI agents from stopping the next al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi were built on the bedrock of a 35-year history of dark, defeating mistrust. More Americans should not die because the peace-at-any-cost fringe and antigovernment paranoids still fighting the ghost of Nixon hate George Bush more than they fear al Qaeda. Ask the American people what they want. They will say that they want the commander in chief to use all reasonable means to catch the people who are trying to rain terror on our cities. Those who cite the soaring principle of individual liberty do not appear to appreciate that our enemies are not seeking to destroy individuals, but whole populations.
Three weeks before 9/11, an FBI agent with the bin Laden case squad in New York learned that [9/11 hijackers Khalid] al-Mihdhar and [Nawaf] al-Hazmi were in this country. He pleaded with the national security gatekeepers in Washington to launch a nationwide manhunt and was summarily told to stand down. When the FISA Court of Review tore down the wall in 2002, it included in its ruling the agent’s Aug. 29, 2001, email to FBI headquarters: “Whatever has happened to this–someday someone will die–and wall or not–the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain problems. Let’s hope the National Security Law Unit will stand behind their decisions then, especially since the biggest threat to us now, [bin Laden], is getting the most ‘protection.'”
The public has listened to years of stinging revelations detailing how the government tied its own hands in stopping the devastating attacks of September 11. It is an irresponsible violation of the public trust for members of Congress to weaken the Patriot Act or jeopardize the NSA terrorist surveillance program because of the same illusory theories that cost us so dearly before, or worse, for rank partisan advantage. If they do, and our country sustains yet another catastrophic attack that these antiterrorism tools could have prevented, the phrase “connect the dots” will resonate again–but this time it will refer to the trail of innocent American blood which leads directly to the Senate floor.
Reader Laurence Z. writes:
Strikes me that Debra Burlingame has “absolute moral authority.” I can’t wait for Maureen Dowd to declare that. When do you think she will?
When the skating rink opens in Hades…
A new pro-Patriot Act ad featuring Burlingame will air during “24.” Expose the Left has it.