In another Wall Street Journal op-ed today, Ronald Kessler engages in some deeply fallacious reasoning (subscription required):
The fact that Mr. Bush bypassed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which lays out procedures for intercepting communications in terrorist cases, raises legitimate concerns. But it should be of more concern that al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations are trying to obtain nuclear and biological weapons that could wipe out major cities, kill millions of people and devastate the American economy.
By that logic, any decision to "bypass" existing US law should be of little concern because the threat from Al Qaeda is greater. Why worry about the law at all?
Kessler later throws in a misleading factual claim, stating that "[T]he Bush administration disclosed the NSA intercept program at its inception to congressional leaders, the FISA court and NSA's inspector general." But Bob Graham, the former chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said that he was not told about domestic wiretaps in his briefing in late 2001 or early 2002, and Jay Rockefeller, the current senior Democrat on the committee, notes that he was not briefed on the program until July 2003.
In particular, Kessler singles out Harry Reid, saying that "some of those same congressional leaders who were briefed on the program, like Sen. Harry Reid, now castigate the president for disregarding the Constitution." But contrary to Kessler's implication that Reid was briefed when the program began, the Senator stated that he "personally received a single very short briefing on this program earlier this year prior to its public disclosure. That briefing occurred more than three years after the President said this program began." Reid added that "based on what I have heard publicly since, key details about the program apparently were not provided to me."
Sadly, this sort of hacktacular nonsense is the rule rather than the exception for the Journal.