Thursday, June 15, 2006

Canadian Bacon

[Started this post last week and got too busy. So it's a bit late now...]

Over the last weekend, the Canadian government busted a terrorist cell plotting to blow up a bunch of Canadian targets. It seems some monitoring of internet activity was part of the process.

Naturally, supporters of the President and the NSA going through everyone's personal lives were all over it. "See! Monitoring email, websurfing, phone calls, etc. works! These guys got caught before they could blow anybody/thing up! Liberal Democrats want to make sure the PResident and those serious about protecting our homeland don't have these tools because they are worried about protecting the civil rights of terrorists...blah, blah, blah"

That's not a quote from anyone, which by definition makes it a strawman, but I'm sure you, like me, can picture any number of righty blowhards on the internet, the radio, FOX or the White House lawn saying pretty much exactly that...

Here why that's bullshit. The Canadian government wasn't sifting through everyone's email or interent activity. Nor were they profiling people or pulling random phone records. This bust was triggered because the would-be terrorists ordered literally tons of fertilizer over the internet from the U.S. At that point, the Canadians got warrants, then monitored these guys' communications, set up a sting, and busted them.

So, let's review:

1. The Canadians stopped an attack before it happened.
2. They did it without casting a net of everyone in the country. They violated no one's rights. Didn't torture anyone. Applied for an obtained warrants. As a result have admissible evidence to charge and convict these guys in a real trial in an actual court.

How exactly is that in any way reminiscent of anything the Bushies have yet accomplished or what they want to do for the rest of our foreseeable "post-9/11" future? That's what I thought.


More analysis at Greenwald's.

The WaPo on what happens when the government gets overzealous in its prosecutions. (Hint: Suspects walk and the Fed prosecutor is under investigation)

Matt Welch wants to know where you draw the line.

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