Saturday, December 17, 2005

Patriot Act

Thanks to Senate Democrats and a few Republican votes, the Patriot Act will expire December 31. "God forbid that there is a terrorist attack that could have been prevented by the Patriot Act after it has expired." Sen. Jon Kyle said yesterday. "If that happens, those who have supported the filibuster will have to answer for it,..."

The New York Times can take some credit for the disclosure of the NSA monitoring communications after 9-11 in the story headlined "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Court Orders" That apparently influenced some in the Senate to vote the way they did however not surprising is what the NYT left out of the story. The NSA monitors only international calls. Paragraph 17 of the NSA program states "The program accelerated in early 2002 after the CIA started capturing top al Qaeda operatives overseas...The CIA siezed the terrorist' computters, cellphones and personal phone directories...The NSA surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible."

The program helped uncover al Qaeda operative Iyman Faris who was ordered by Bin Laden to research the possibility of destroying New York City bridges. He has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Hopefully the day will come when we will no longer find the need for the Patriot Act and others like it but today is not that day.