Sunday, August 13, 2006

Testing, Testing

From the Associated Press:

Chertoff says U.S. needs more authority

WASHINGTON - The nation's chief of homeland security said Sunday that the U.S. should consider reviewing its laws to allow for more electronic surveillance and detention of possible terror suspects, citing last week's foiled plot.

Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, stopped short of calling for immediate changes, noting there might be constitutional barriers to the type of wide police powers the British had in apprehending suspects in the plot to blow up airliners headed to the U.S.

But Chertoff made clear his belief that wider authority could thwart future attacks at a time when Congress is reviewing the proper scope of the Bush administration's executive powers for its warrantless eavesdropping program and military tribunals for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"What helped the British in this case is the ability to be nimble, to be fast, to be flexible, to operate based on fast-moving information," he said. "We have to make sure our legal system allows us to do that. It's not like the 20th century, where you had time to get warrants."

The outcry from "civil libertarians" is bound to be loud and shrill. "Civil libertarians" are focused exclusively on the protection of "rights" for the sake of, well, protecting "rights." They take no interest in actually protecting fundamental rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

P.S. Score one for the defenders of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in their battle against the American "Civil Liberties" Union. The right not to be bombed triumphs over the "right" not to be searched in NYC.

Related post: Privacy: Variations on the Theme of Liberty