Today, police in England and Pakistan, with some help from authorities in the United States broke a plot to assemble bombs on ten aircraft bound for the United States and detonate them on board the ten flights.
And thank God that they were caught. Clearly the police agencies involved did a very good job at protecting their citizens.
What the right now is saying though is that this justifies the NSA spying program. They point out that apparently wiretapping of phones was useful in uncovering the plot and making these arrests.
And so it was. This does NOT in any way justify the use of illegal wiretaps to spy on American citizens who are accused of nothing.
These conversations would still be monitored if the government followed the law, including the requirement that all wiretaps must be approved by and a warrant issued by FISA, a court that deals with when these wiretaps are legal. And in over two decades, FISA has failed to issue exactly four, out of the thousands of requests it gets. Since the warrant can actually be issued up to 48 hours later, there is no reason at all to suggest that following the law would in any way impact on the war on terror.
Again, I'm glad they caught the terrorists, but this is not and should not be used as a means of further restricting individual rights and freedoms upon which this country was founded.