And for any of you that haven’t had a Mark Steyn experience, please put aside your partisan loyalties and enjoy a bit of carnage.
The Democrats and the media want to upgrade every terrorist into O.J. Simpson, insulated by legalisms and entitled to his own dream team. (Their figleaf, the court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which previously denied not a single request, has turned down hundreds in the years since 9/11.) The practical effect of the Dems’ approach is to extend the protections of the U.S. Constitution to any dodgy character anywhere on the planet who has a U.S. telephone number in his Rolodex. Indeed, given that perfectly ordinary cell phones can be used almost anywhere — this week, I spoke to an American in London by dialing his Washington cell number — if the Democrats have their way, all terrorist cells in Europe or Pakistan would have to do to put themselves beyond the reach of U.S. intelligence is get a New Jersey-based associate to place a bulk order for Verizon cell phones.
This isn’t a hypothetical situation. Consider Iyman Faris, a naturalized American citizen also known as Mohammad Rauf and nailed by U.S. intelligence through the interception of foreign-U.S. communications. He was convicted in 2003 for doing the legwork on an al Qaida scheme to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. A “hardworking truck driver,” he was introduced to Osama bin Laden while enjoying a well-earned vacation at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan in 2000. At the request of bin Laden’s aides, he researched the terrorist possibilities of “ultralight” aircraft. In 2002, he was commissioned by al Qaida to return to America and procure the materials for severing suspension-bridge cables and derailing trains.
Do you want Iyman Faris in jail? Or do you think he should have the run of the planet until he’s actually destroyed the bridge and killed hundreds of people? Say, the Golden Gate Bridge just as you’re driving across after voting for Barbara Boxer and congratulating yourself on your moral superiority.
It’s very hard to fight a terrorist war without intelligence. By definition, you can only win battles against terrorists pre-emptively — that’s to say, you find out what they’re planning to do next Thursday and you stop it cold on Wednesday. Capturing them on Friday while you’re still pulling your dead from the rubble is poor consolation. For example, in 1988, a British SAS unit shot dead three IRA members on the streets of Gibraltar. The United Kingdom’s Joint Intelligence Committee were acting on information that the cell was planning to blow up the changing-of-the-guard ceremony on the Rock. The two men and a woman were subsequently found to be ”unarmed,” and as a result various civil liberties groups protested and critical TV documentaries were made. But there was no dispute that they were IRA members and that they had bomb-making materials in their car. If the state cannot take action until its sworn enemy uses those materials, it had better be prepared to lose the war.
According to a Rasmussen poll, 64 percent of Americans believe the National Security Agency should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorist cells overseas and persons living in the United States; 23 percent disagree. What is it the Democrats and media don’t get about this?