September 28, 2007


You are on a dark lonely road out in the middle of nowhere, up ahead you see an accident and pull up. Then you notice that it is your spouse behind the wheel of the car wrapped around the tree. It is obvious that your spouse is gravely injured and unresponsive. You pull out your cell, hoping you are in range and dial 911 with some difficulty because the tears blur your vision. An operator comes on, you advise the operator of the need for an immediate ambulance and medical care and the operator calmly says, "I'm sorry, you will have to make application and it will be at least 12 hours before we can get a medivac chopper to you."

Think about that scenario and keep it in the back of your mind as I tell you about three kidnapped G.I.s as blogged by Ace at Ace of Spades HQ:

Last May, Iraqi terrorists kidnapped three American soldiers.

American intelligence officials searched for cyber-signals about the kidnapping... and actually found them. They found the kidnappers talking to each other on-line.

However, they had to stop listening because the signals were passing through an American-based server and under the law that meant there could be no eavesdropping without a warrant.

So they stopped listening in on foreign terrorists holding kidnapped American soldiers.

For ten hours, officials worked to get "emergency authorization" to resume eavesdropping.

This then required the personal okay of AG Gonzales, who couldn't be reached for two hours.

12 Hours! One of the soldiers has been recovered, dead, mutilated, tortured. 12 Hours! Almost immediately, American forces had a live listen to the kidnappers but couldn't listen. 12 Hours!

Ace goes on to note:

The law has been changed to expressly permit eavesdropping in this situation, and some Democrats such as Rep. Reyes (D) are arguing for a rollback to the previous rule."
12 hours that may have made a difference. 12 Hours!

The rules are now that in an emergency you don't need permission to "listen in." 12 Hours! And some want to go back to that? Bastards!

We find ourselves back on that lonely road, watching the rescue chopper touch down. 12 Hours! The medics find two bodies. Your spouse who died of the injuries and you, who died of a broken heart! 12 Hours!

A tip O' The GM Derby to Larwyn

Posted by GM Roper at September 28, 2007 10:09 PM

great point and analogy. Dugg it and loved it.

Posted by Douglas V. Gibbs at September 28, 2007 10:14 PM

Great piece.

The officials find two bodies. My spouse and the medic from the chopper. Then they hear about an enraged retired soldier who has commandeered a medevac chopper and is now killing those responsible for this fiasco. No one will be safe until he has obliterated those who did this including the elected officials.

That is what happens when you screw with my family...

Officials from the Democratic party will blame it on military training...

Posted by Big Dog at September 29, 2007 07:20 AM

The ACLU would be happy.

Posted by Woody at September 29, 2007 08:43 AM

Damn the law, I would've listened, and those soldiers would maybe still be alive. If anyone decided to prosecute me for having broken the law, I wish them luck with crowd control at my trial.

Am I the only one thinking that someone was a little too concerned about their rank/position/title and a little unconcerned about three soldiers in trouble?


Posted by TD at September 29, 2007 12:06 PM

The worry on these broadened surveillance techniques is that officials will begin using them for other purposes, such as law enforcement monitoring citizens without a warrant. It is a legitimate worry, but good God, man, let's solve that problem as we go! Save the lives first.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at September 29, 2007 07:58 PM

It will only get worse and thousands will die in the U.S. as a result of the democrats weaking and/or killing all usable intel laws. Send all JAG officers to the front and use them as mine detectors. All I hear is 'they may' spy on American citizens. The last time that happened was when thousands of FBI records (preceived to be Clinton enemies) were retrieved from Shrillary Clintons offices.

Posted by Scrapiron at September 29, 2007 08:20 PM

"Some committee Democrats, however, suggested the incident had been exaggerated. They asked why agents did not proceed with a wiretap and then seek authority later, a power that has been part of the surveillance law for years. "

Via a link at Ace of Spades. Of course he conveniently overlooked this comment as did everyone else here. Feel free to brand me a murderer.

Posted by e. nonee moose at September 30, 2007 12:23 AM

I understand that we have had similar delays in attacking enemy positions, while waiting for legal authorization, and that authorization was not timely in some key situations, allowing al Qaeda leaders to escape and live another day to plot the killings of more Americans. Troop movements can't stop and wait for Supreme Court decisions.

Posted by Woody at September 30, 2007 07:54 AM

e. nonee:

The comment wasn't worthy of consideration. "Some committee Democrats" suggested something they had poor knowledge of or deliberately mischaracterized.

This is the way I understand it: They were not permitted to begin surveillance at all without emergency authorization. The part about what has been "surveillance law for years" applies to the actual FISA warrant; not the authorization to begin the tap while the FISA warrant application was being processed.

Take this into consideration as well:

"The letter to Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes also notes, "The Director used this example to illustrate the point that, due to changes in technology, the FISA statute extends privacy protections to foreign terrorists located outside of the United States merely because FISA makes a geographic distinction based on the location of the collection.""

Houston, we have a problem.

Posted by Oyster at October 1, 2007 10:21 AM

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