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Thursday, Jul. 16, 2009 3:48 AM

Apologist for torture John Yoo now takes a turn at justifying the Bush Administration's program of warrantless wiretaps, accusing the inspectors general of 'playing politics' and 'ignoring history.'

What if, Yoo postulates, there had been a secret terror cell hidden in New York, poised for a second, equally-devasatating attack?

Which just about sums things up, as far as I'm concerned - it's more ticking time-bomb nonsense. And, again, it ignores that FISA already possessed an exception for immediate surveillance with a 72-hour grace period for filing a warrant - something that was never argued from a legal standpoint, only excused by Alberto Gonzales saying he didn't have the time or manpower to process warrants.

Because we were hip-deep in hidden terrorists. Because no one knew the threat poised by al-Qaeda, or how they were organized. (So, who, exactly, were we wiretapping? Any schmuck who happened to place a call from the Middle East to the United States? Calls from the United States abroad?)

Of course, since the program continued unabated despite its revelation, I have to wonder where all this critical information about al-Qaeda is, and why, eight years down the road, we're still entertaining what-ifs and other fear-laden scenarios.

The laughable part is Yoo's closing line. He writes, "As we confront terrorists who remain intent on attacking the U.S., using weapons we cannot anticipate, we should be skeptical of those who insist that we radically change the way this country has always made war."

Radical changes? Like warrantless wiretaps, torture, and extreme rendition? Or perhaps pushing an 'Authorization for Use of Military Force' as a way around needing Congress to approve a declaration of war?

You're right, Professor Yoo. I'm definitely skeptical of people like you.

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