Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Uh, wow

Matt Yglesias highlights a single paragraph of an editorial in the Wall Street Journal:
What Democrats have done, in essence, is to insert an unelected judiciary into the wartime chain of command. As Mr. Kelly notes, this is producing a "lack of accountability" and "the lack of transparency into the inner workings of the FISA process." If some faceless FISA judge denies a surveillance request from Mr. Kelly and New Yorkers die as a result, that judge will answer to no one. Under current FISA rules, we won't even know who that judge is.

I'm not sure I can even count the number of levels on which this is wrong or bone-headed. It's saying that unelected judges are bad in wartime, apparently unaware that the military itself is not elected. The people setting these wiretaps are unelected and faceless, and now so are their victims, since they don't even have to say who they're spying on. None of that seems to bother them.

And the idea that having judicial oversight--any judicial oversight, no matter how watered down now--means a "lack of accountability" is just... it's mind-boggling. Apparently letting unknown and unaccountable people spy on anyone they want for no reason whatsoever leads to more accountability and transparency than having a judge oversee requests to spy on people. How the hell could this possibly make any sense to anyone?

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