"The Final Verdict on Able Danger
There is historic importance. In the Defense Department's credible investigation and the Able Danger story, what is revealed is the enormous power and allure of anything and everything that is "off-the-books." The complex and the deliberate and the coordinated are shunted aside for the special and the secret and the ad hoc. The process of creating an Able Danger or an office of Special Plans intrinsically is about the "failure" of the normal system to innovate or respond. Partly it is also bureaucratic reality: The special and secret also demands enormous attention from policy-makers, crowding out the established and the traditional.
The Able Danger "phenomenon" is the genesis of how one report or one stream of reports -- say, regarding Iraq's WMD or Saddam's connection to Sept. 11 -- becomes more compelling than the entire "normal" system of reports. The phenomenon is also the genesis of programs of warantless surveillance and secret prisons: Laws are perceived as hurdles to accessing necessary information, hence the "need" for the extrajudicial.
When Sept. 11 happened, the easy assumption of those in government was that "rules" and "laws" and the bureaucracy were to blame for the failure. God forbid, the blame should have been leveled on intelligence agencies, law-enforcement goons or the Bush administration itself. The culture of the sectret, the clandestine and the special easily fed the impulse to go outside the system, to employ the ad hoc and the new and shunt aside what existed.
This is the root of the Iraq problem today. We will not even begin the understand how to repair the problem until we look at the history honestly."
* one of josh's readers:
"Every day I read countless liberal blogs offering compelling confrontation to the lies and smears the republicans let fly in their constant barrage, yet none of this corrective dialogue is observable in the MSM. I guess my point is, do we fault the MSM for this mostly one-sided debate the average news consumer is exposed to, or are the democrats no-shows when it comes to aggressively getting "our side" presented in the daily discourse of the media? The liberal blogs are great with exposing truth, but they're preaching to the choir while the republicans never let up in their campaign to control the greater public dialogue."* AP:
" The House voted Thursday to impose mandatory sanctions on entities that provide goods or services for Iran's weapons programs. The vote came as U.S diplomats continued to press the U.N. Security Council to penalize Tehran if it fails to end its uranium enrichment program.
House sponsors of the Iran Freedom Support Act said they had hoped for Senate action as early as Thursday night, sending it to President Bush for his signature. But they said there was resistance from Senate Democrats to passing it without a debate.
The bill, passed by a voice vote, sanctions any entity that contributes to Iran's ability to acquire chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. The president has the authority to waive those sanctions, but only when he can show that it is in the vital national interest."
"It’s hard to understand how prosecuting someone like Lynne Stewart protects us from terrorism. Indeed, her conviction tolls the bell of liberty for all by threatening the integrity of the entire defense bar nationwide. Defense attorneys can no longer zealously represent their clients where the innocent violation of a regulation can lead to 20 years in jail."