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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Same Hearing, 3 Conclusions

Funny how the headlines change based on the exact same story. The Washington Times story says:

FISA judges say Bush within law

Then, when you go to the New York Times story, the headline is:

Judges on Secretive Panel Speak Out on Spy Program

And the Washington Post says:

Judges Back Court Review of Eavesdropping

When you read the articles you'll find prime examples , from both the left and the right, of cherry picking facts to make a story fit an agenda.

The New York Times article never mentions the judges who testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee who said Bush was within the law and his executive authority to order the wire taps. Nor do they mention that the judges and Senators questioned why the law is screwed up:
The panel of judges unanimously agreed that the law should have been changed before now to deal with new threats from terrorists and new communications technologies, a point made by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat.

"It is confusing that if you take something off of a satellite it is legal, but if you take it off of a wiretap it's not," she said. "We need to include new technology."
The Washington Times never bothers to mention that at least one current member and one past member have disagreed that the President is within his authority on the issue.

The Washington Times uses Judge Allan Kornblum as an example of why the program is legal:

"If a court refuses a FISA application and there is not sufficient time for the president to go to the court of review, the president can under executive order act unilaterally, which he is doing now," said Judge Allan Kornblum, magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and an author of the 1978 FISA Act. "I think that the president would be remiss exercising his constitutional authority by giving all of that power over to a statute."
But the Washington Post uses the same judge's statements to show why the program is suspect:
I am very wary of inherent authority" claimed by presidents, testified U.S. Magistrate Judge Allan Kornblum. "It sounds very much like King George."
Which leads to my conclusion on this whole thing; the press is the wrong place to try and decide the legalities of the program. While the FISA Court of Review has weighed in on the issue, a test case needs to come up and go through the courts to decide the Article II applicability of this the law.

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