Attorney General Michael Mukasey and National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell have been given unprecedented power to spy against Americans by the Protect America Act through electronic communications networks. Although that law has expired, it has also provided for the extension of those spy powers beyond the actual expiration of the law. Tricky, tricky, tricky.
The real trick is that the Republicans are trying to get the FISA Amendments Act, a law which makes the Protect America Act’s provisions practically permanent and at the same time worse, through the excuse that the expiration of the Protect America Act puts Americans in danger. That doesn’t make sense, given that the spy programs of the Protect America Act are still in effect, but sense isn’t the point. Fear is the point.
Republicans like Mukasey and McConnell, so eager to use their spying powers, know that they don’t need to be rational. They just need to scare people with statements like this one, made by them in a joint letter last Friday: “Allowing the act to expire without passing the bipartisan Senate bill has had real and negative consequences for our national security.”
Don’t be afraid. Instead, think about what Mukasey and McConnell have said in that statements. They’ve said that the expiration of the Protect America Act “has had real and negative consequences for our national security”.
Real consequences for our national security? Not abstract consequences? Not potential consequences? Real consequences?
There have been no terrorist attacks. There have been no real negative consequences for American national security. There have been only abstract, potential, theoretical consequences, such as the guess that terrorists might attack, and might not be stopped in their attacks, and that that failure to stop the possible future terrorist attack in the future could possibly be because of the expiration of the Protect America Act.
That’s not a real negative consequence. That’s just a lot of vague guesswork about bad things, based on a paranoid presumption.
Anyone who can confuse the two is not capable of responsibly carrying the power of a spymaster. McConnell and Mukasey are incompetent for the job they have been given by the right wing Homeland Security state.