Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, July 06, 2007

Court: Paranoid Libs Have No Standing

Does the mere fact that you're a paranoid lib convinced that Bush is personally out to get you give you standing to sue the feds for fueling your paranoia?

No, says a federal appellate court. (story here)

The ACLU, which brought the lawsuit to challenge the NSA electronic surveillance program, tried to paint the suit as reasonable, not the nightmare-fired rant of their demented constituents:
In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today dismissed a legal challenge to the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program. The challenge was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of prominent journalists, scholars, attorneys and national nonprofit organizations who say that the unchecked surveillance program is disrupting their ability to communicate effectively with sources and clients.

Even though the plaintiffs alleged a well-founded fear that their communications were subject to illegal surveillance, the court dismissed the case because plaintiffs could not state with certainty that they had been wiretapped by the National Security Agency.
That's really interesting, because everyone knows the NSA surveillance program was focused on people having communication with people with suspected or known al-Qaeda affiliations overseas. Either these foam-mouths didn't believe that (despite everyone else's acknowledgment of it), or they were having regular chats with people who hang out on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

It turns out to be the latter, says the decision:
[Plaintiffs] assert a mere belief, which they contend is reasonable and which they label a “well founded belief,” that: their overseas contacts are the types of people targeted by the NSA; the plaintiffs are consequently subjected to the NSA’s eavesdropping; the eavesdropping leads the NSA to discover (and possibly disclose) private or privileged information; and the mere possibility of such discovery (or disclosure) has injured them in three particular ways.
Of course, they could prove none of this. Why would NSA give secret info about their program to people who admit they are in contact with the "types of people targeted by NSA?" And on that note, the judges pitched the complaint. Can't prove harm? Get outta my court.

The Left will grumble because a Republican majority tossed the suit before the legality of the NSA program was determined, and in a way I agree. I would like to see the warrantless program get a stamp of approval, given its strict construction and justifiable application.

That may still come. AP says the ACLU may ask the full court to rule.

Whatever happens, it's important to know who these people are who feel so threatened. According to the ACLU site on NSA spying, those involved in the suit include:
  • The Council on American Islamic Relations, in an apparent admission that they do talk regularly with al-Qaeda operatives
  • Joshua L. Dratel, of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (John Edwards types), and co-editor of The Torture Papers: The Legal Road to Abu Ghraib.
  • James Bamford, author of some nasty sounding books: A Pretext for War: 9/11; Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies; Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, and The Puzzle Palace: A Report on NSA, America's Most Secret Agency. Can you say "obsessed?"
  • Christopher Hitchens, as if we need more proof that this is one complex dude.'
  • Tara McKelvey, who appears to be just a tad of an anti-American feminist, who bio notes she has "written extensively about the Middle East, Iraqi detainees held in U.S. custody and women's issues in Iraq. McKelvey is the author of an upcoming book about U.S. legal efforts to fight torture and is editing an anthology about women and torture ...."
These people either are on the up and up and have nothing to hide and nothing to fear, or they aren't, and they do.

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