Andy McCarthy penned a truly strange column over at National Review yesterday. The gist is that we shouldn’t be suckered in by Bush critics’ fixation on little technicalities like “whether electronic searches were authorized by warrant” because the rabid, Bush-deranged liberal mainstream media would have pitched a hissy fit even if the very same program had been carried out with judicial oversight. In other words, the fifth columnists at The New York Times would’ve created a scandal-story no matter what… so best not to get too worked up about this “warrant” business. You wouldn’t want ot be a dupe of The New York Times, would you?

The problem is, put warrants back in the picture and (leaving aside the nebulous data mining thing, which isn’t what McCarthy’s talking about) there is no “program”… there’s just law enforcement officers seeking FISA warrants, as we’ve known they do for years. The Times could, of course, find some top-secret insider to leak the information that FISA warrant applications and approvals have recently reached record highs. Fortunately, they wouldn’t have to look very hard, because the Justice Department releases those figures to Congress each year.

In other words, we don’t need McCarthy’s fertile imagination to know what the NSA tapping story might look like if judicial oversight were added to the mix… because it’s the story we’d been getting for years already.


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