On terror warrants
That's two friends now who've expressed some concern about a CNN poll in which respondents opposed warrantless universal surveillance by a margin of two to one. Not to take sides, here, but I think those worried by the poll may be missing a piece of the puzzle -- the biggest reason why
the vote is going so heavily against universal surveillance without any review whatsoever.
Back in the Clinton era -- a move which upset civil libertarians at the time, btw -- a new "special terror court" was established [EDIT: my mistake; see "For the record" in the comments, inside!]
, on the theory that terrorism cases were different and required special handling. Its judges have very high security clearances, details of its proceedings are absolutely secret, and nearly every warrant requested from it in the several years since has been promptly granted -- and without leaks. In 1999 (the lead-up to the "Millennium" celebrations) some 800 secret warrants were issued; in 2004, something between 1700-1800, with no requests denied. So, these are NOT your local judges on the corner, with casual court staff hanging around and gossiping about it.
The current tsimmis is because even that wasn't enough for our President. Perhaps unsurprisingly, since he believes that he needs, and indeed has
, the absolute authority to detain anyone, anywhere, anytime, he also believes that he needs, and indeed has, the absolute authority to surveil
anyone, anywhere, anytime (or everyone, everywhere, every time) without any review by anyone whatsoever. There is, of course, a name for the form of government in which one human being gets to do whatever he deems necessary without having to persuade anyone at all that it's a good idea: it's called a "dictatorship," because in such a system, whatever the monarch dictates is by definition the law.
So, one in three of the CNN poll's respondents are sufficiently frightened to support an absolute dictatorship; two in three are not (yet) sufficiently frightened to do so. That's what the poll means.
Again, I am not advocating either side, in this post; just trying to clarify the issue.
93 93/93 -- AJ
P.S. Not that there isn't a political aspect to this story -- f'rinstance, the New York Times
suppressed this information for over a year (as in, "since before the 2004 election"), and is still withholding part of it at the White House's request. But in all seriousness, this P.S. is the only intentionally partisan comment in this post; everything above is simply an attempt to be factual. Anyway, hope it helps. :)