Morning Bell: Stop Playing Politics With U.S. Security

Conn Carroll /

It has now been 22 days since the House of Representatives asked for a 21-day extension to pass legislation that would bring U.S. intelligence law into the 21st century. This is on top of the 15 days they asked for and were granted on Feb. 1. In total the House has had 214 days since the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was temporarily reformed on Aug. 5, 2007, to prove to the American people that they are serious about national security. We are still waiting.

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell has told Congress that our intelligence services “have lost intelligence information … as a direct result of the uncertainty created by Congress’ failure to act.“And what is the big issue delaying House action? It is not a concern for civil liberties. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill that addressed the civil liberty concerns of all but the most leftist members of Congress. The House is willing to put our nation’s security at risk so that trial lawyers and anti-Bush activists can pursue lawsuits against the telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government after 9/11. Besides the campaign cash from trial lawyers, House liberals refuse to compromise because they do not want to be seen as caving in to President Bush. The House has failed miserably in fulfilling campaign promises to end the war in Iraq and they are desperate for a victory over the the Bush administration. The far-left liberal base wants Democrats to run on this issue this fall.

The left does not care what the cost of their narrow political interests are on national security. Former CIA official and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) adviser John Brennan recently told National Journal: “I do believe strongly that [telecoms] should be granted that immunity. They were told to [cooperate] by the appropriate authorities that were operating in a legal context. I know people are concerned about that, but I do believe that’s the right thing to do.” Brennan went on to advise the next president:

My advice, to whoever is coming in, is they need to spend some time learning, understanding what’s out there, inventorying those things, and identifying those key issues or priorities that they have — FISA or something else. They need to make sure they do their homework, and it’s not just going to be knee-jerk responses.

House members needs to get over their Bush hatred, do their homework, and put the nation’s security first. They need to pass permanent FISA reform now with protections for telecom companies.

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