The false dilemma

J.D. Henderson at Intel Dump provides us with a critical reminder in the wake of the NSA/wiretapping issue. Henderson cites a recent ABC/Washington Post poll that found that “about 50% consider wiretapping an acceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism, and 65% said it’s more important to investigate threats than safeguard privacy.”

The implication in this kind of poll is that these two things are mutually exclusive. Not at all. As Henderson notes, this kind of framing misses the point “in a spectacular way.”

The poll, and any commentary in the media that discusses why the wiretaps were needed, misses the entire controversy. Yes, wiretaps are needed. The underlying question is NOT whether we should have wiretapped suspected terrorists. The controversy is not over wiretapping, it is over the warrantless wiretaps in violation of the law.
Yes, FISA guidelines allow for warrentless wiretapping as long as a warrent is sought within 3 days of the action. So...we should still be wondering long and hard about the logic behind the Bush administration’s claim that the leak about the NSA program has jeapardized national security.

Crikey! How can the public discuss the actual issue if the press can’t even appropriately identify it?

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