The ACLU suing to protect our rights, that's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo".
So what the NSA phone tap controversy comes down to is this. Do you want your rights protected or your family protected? The ACLU and others believe President Bush is on a campaign to violate the Constitution in order to get more power for himself.
The president and his supporters say we haven't been attacked since 9/11 because Mr. Bush has been very effective in ombating the Al Qaeda killers.
It is a fact: The ACLU opposes virtually every anti-terror mechanism the Bush administration has put into place. And the civil liberties people actually want to extend rights to capture terrorists they're not legally entitled to, like Geneva Convention protections.
Just go to the ACLU's Web site and see for yourself. The organization opposes nearly every anti-terror measure. That puts the ACLU and its sympathizers in a bad place. Most Americans will not support a soft approach when it comes to Al Qaeda. All the polls prove that.
But many Americans also want the president to obey the law. And the fact is the Bush administration could have their cake, their taps, and listen, too, if they had applied for warrants within 72 hours after the surveillance.
The Bush administration chose not to do that, claiming they have congressional authority not to impede Al Qaeda. And that authority extends to the NSA program.
So I'm kind of glad the ACLU has filed a lawsuit because I think that the country should have this debate. Who's right? The civil libertarians or the terror warriors? Let's find out.
And one more thing. The ACLU shamed itself by taking a full-page ad, in fact, two of them, out in The New York Times, comparing the NSA taps to Richard Nixon's Watergate activities. Nixon, of course, allowed his people to violate the law to help his own re-election. There was a personal benefit to Nixon when the Democrat headquarters was broken into.
President Bush has nothing to gain personally from the NSA taps. It's strictly a security issue. There's no evidence anything else is implied. The ACLU's ad was dishonest.
But the debate over how national security should be protected is not dishonest. It's vital. Let the lawsuits and the debates begin.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
I've received some e-mails asking why I don't reply to the consistent criticism of me and FOX News by some elements at NBC News.
Well, the reason we ignore those people is that few people watch them. The NBC cable channels and its news magazine are not doing well at all. So desperate people do desperate things. Everybody should understand that and ignore desperate people if possible. To not do so would be ridiculous.
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