27 augustus 2006
To the attention of Knack
Knack is doing a series on the American War on Terror (Guantanamo, Swiftgate, wiretapping, renditions, you know, the usual suspects).
In the future, they should consider the following:
That's assuming the authorities are allowed to keep intercepting. The method by which Scotland Yard and MI5 uncovered the Heathrow plot -- monitoring communications between external and domestic phone numbers -- has now been ruled "unconstitutional" after a case brought by the Michigan branch of the ACLU, which went judge-shopping and happily for them found a judge who'd previously served as trustee of an organization that funds the Michigan ACLU. Quelle surprise, as the French say. Or as they would say if they weren't too busy trying to weasel out of their phony-baloney U.N. peacekeeping gig in Lebanon.
Setting aside her conflict of interest, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor delivered a legal opinion of almost laughable illiteracy that leaves the United States government in the curious position of being able to do more to intercept terrorist plots against foreign countries than against its own. That's to say, on the Heathrow bust, the United States provided some information from communications intercepts to British and Pakistani authorities. If Judge Taylor's ruling stands, if the U.S. government intercepts a call from Islamabad to London about a plot to blow up Big Ben, it can alert the Brits. But, if the U.S. government intercepts a call from Islamabad to New York about a plot to blow up the Chrysler Building, that's entirely unconstitutional and all record of it should be erased. And, given that cell phones with American area codes can be used all around the planet, all the guy in Islamabad would have to do is get one with a 202 or 212 number and he can plot jihad on every continent to his heart's content. One notes that earlier this month five Muslim Americans were arrested in Ohio and Michigan after hundreds of cell phones were found in their cars. But no doubt Taylor will soon uncover a constitutional right to multiple cell phones.