RUSH: Colon in Normal, Illinois. Glad you called, sir. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: That would be Colin.
RUSH: Colin. Sorry about that.
CALLER: No problem. I’d like to take exception to a comment you made earlier considering — concerning — terrorist activity in the United States and how we are unable to monitor it. Um, I believe there is an apparatus in place for warrants to be issued, uh, through a court to monitor any conversation in the United States. Is that not true?
RUSH: It depends. The problem with warrants is the speed with which you need to issue them.
CALLER: Yes, but —
RUSH: But you see the problem with your argument on warrants is that oftentimes we don’t know who it is that we are seeking. We get a phone call we hear. The computer mines the data, finds a phone call. We get a phone number but we don’t know who to issue the warrant for, but yet we’ve got the data that says, “Ooooh, something is being plotted here.” So you gotta go to the court. You’ve got to get a warrant. By the time you do that, the moment is past.
CALLER: Well, considering the speed, I believe you’re legally allowed to tap the phone without a warrant and seek the warrant later. Is that not true?
RUSH: Not if you guys get your way. That’s the whole point.
CALLER: Who is “us” guys?
RUSH: You guys on the left.
CALLER: I’m not on the left. I’m not on the right. I’m just… You know… I’m just here.
RUSH: Oh, you’re not, you’re not a liberal? It says you’re a liberal. Did you tell the call screener you’re a liberal or not?
CALLER: I did not.
RUSH: You did not tell the call screener you’re a liberal?
CALLER: I simply stated —
RUSH: The call screener inferred it. I apologize, sir. We don’t like labels on this program. Labels get in the way of our common humanity, don’t you know.
CALLER: My point being — my point being I feel as a rule you try to present sort of a half-truth and leave out certain bits of information such as there are apparatus in place to monitor calls within the United States, and —
RUSH: Right. Have you heard of the case of Zacarias Moussaoui?
CALLER: I have.
RUSH: Well, that’s a case where we didn’t get to find out what was on his computer, and we found out he was the 20th hijacker.
CALLER: (silence) And…?
RUSH: And? We missed finding out what was going on beforehand! The FBI wanted to know what was on his computer, and couldn’t get a warrant to do it from the FISA Court. They didn’t like the way the procedures had been followed, bammo! 9/11 happened.
CALLER: They could have done it without the warrant, could they not have? I believe that’s the law, and then you can seek the warrant afterwards. Why didn’t we follow that, that procedure?
RUSH: Because there was a wall at the time this happened. This is 1999. This is during the Clinton administration. There’s a wall that you couldn’t share information. One intelligence agency couldn’t share it with another. So it wouldn’t have done any good.
CALLER: Well, very well. I just wanted to issue my feelings, and I’m sure I’m not going to convince anybody, especially you, so I just thought I’d say my piece.
RUSH: You know the thing that I’m talking about here? You want to start talking procedure here, and I’m talking philosophy. We’ve got a big argument going in the country right now, Colin, about the “culture of corruption” in the Republican Party, the Abramoff scandal and the Democrats have been in the last six months or so trying to make hay out of this culture of corruption, and I think that there is an even larger culture of corruption that we need to explore and that’s the culture of an ideology. I think liberalism is corrupting America. Liberalism, for some reason, has found itself on the side of our enemies. Liberalism seeks to exploit weaknesses here at home. The culture of liberalism is gotten so corrupt that it is hard to recognize it anymore. I’m talking about an overall philosophy. You could sit here and make these points about whether they could get a warrant after the fact or whatever.
The fact is that you have, nevertheless by the position you’ve taken, you have supported a position that makes it more difficult for us to gather intelligence on known enemies in this country. That is corruption of what you believe, whether you’re a liberal or not. As Mark Stein wrote about this, and this was yesterday in the Chicago Sun-Times. This is a quote: “It’s very hard to fight a terrorist war without intelligence. By definition, you can only win battles against terrorists preemptively. That’s to say, you find out what they’re planning to do next Thursday and you stop it cold on Wednesday. Capturing them on Friday while you’re still pulling your dead from the rubble is poor consolation. If the Democrats have their way, all terrorist cells in Europe or Pakistan would have to do to put themselves beyond the reach of US intelligence is get a New Jersey-based associate to place a bulk order for Verizon cell phones,” and then use them, because the way we’re going about it, we’re not going to be allowed — if the Democrats have their way in their effort here to get Bush. In their effort to impeach him, we’re not going to be able to do any spying on anybody in this country, include the enemy where they are currently operating, we fear.
RUSH: Now, our last caller, Colin, wanted to make the point that, “Look, go ahead and spy, and then get the warrants after the fact. What’s wrong with doing that?” Well, I looked some things up here. First of all, you need probable cause for a warrant, and what’s the point of a warrant issued by a judge after an intercept has already occurred? What’s being protected? What’s the principle here? If you’ve intercepted something that’s worthwhile what do you need the warrant for? If you don’t get a warrant before the intercept there’s no judicial check on the fact that an intercept has occurred. The whole thing is a bogus point. But more importantly than that, if you look at the statute here, you find that this idea that, “All we gotta do is wait 72 hours and then go get the warrant before the FISA Court,” it’s not simple, folks.” FISA applications are detailed and they require considerable time to repair, and I have the requirements here, and I don’t have time too read all of this.
But to get an after-the-fact warrant, “A: Submission by federal officer approval of attorney general content. Each application for an order approving electronic surveillance under this subchapter shall be made by a federal officer in writing upon oath or affirmation to a judge having jurisdiction under Section 1803 of this title. Each application shall require the approval of the attorney general based upon his finding that it satisfies the criteria and requirements of such application as set forth in his subchapter. It shall include, 1: The identity of the federal officer making the application. 2: The authority conferred on the attorney general by the president and the approval of the attorney general to make the application. 3: The identity if known or subscription of the target of the surveillance. 4: A statement of the facts and circumstances relied upon by the applicant to justice the fact that…”
It goes on. Let me hold this up. You can’t see it, too much light. It would take 72 hours to go through all of the requirements here just to apply for the warrant. It’s absurd. What are we supposed to do here, have scores of lawyers ready to undertake these ridiculous tasks to make sure terrorists and their friends in the US around denied rights they don’t have under the Constitution in the first place? We’re talking about enemy combatants on the ground in this country who you want to confer constitutional rights. That’s why it is being said by some that all the terrorists are going to have to do if the Democrats get their way is to come into this country, go into New Jersey or New York somewhere, get a bunch of Verizon cell phones and go to town. It is clear that the people on the other side of this don’t support capturing these, and we don’t know that for sure but what we do know is they want to penalize George W. Bush for what he’s been doing even though it’s been done by previous presidents.
RUSH: We got a call earlier. I think the caller’s name was Colin, and where was he from? Where was he calling from? Yeah. Colin from Normal, Illinois. You know, forgive me for not being up to speed on this, but his talking point seemed to be — I’ve been researching this here during the top-of-the-hour news break. He denied being a liberal, and that’s fine, but his talking point is one of the huge liberal talking points that’s all over their websites out there today, and that is, “Hey, don’t tell us that we’re going to be the ones responsible for Al-Qaeda operating with impunity in this country. You can still go get a warrant 72 hours after the fact.” This is all over the place, which thus caused me to go look for some other things about that. That’s where I found the requirements here for a FISA Application of a Warrant for Electronic Surveillance. If you want to get one after you’ve detected whatever you’ve detected in your electronic surveillance. It’s much too long for me to read here. I’d love to but the only reason to read it would be to give you an idea of just how comber some this is It’s absolutely absurd.”
So what I’m going to do — I found it at PowerLine, the PowerLineblog. So I’m going to post the relevant parts of the statute at my website. I just sent it up to the webmaster, Koko, and I’ll put it up there at RushLimbaugh.com so you can see what would be necessary to legally get a warrant after you have detected via electronic surveillance information that you want to act on, because that’s their argument: “Well, there’s nothing says you can’t get a warrant. You’ve got 72 hours after the fact.” You take a look at those requirements and you tell me if 72 hours is enough time. It’s absolutely absurd. But more importantly than that, folks, the president doesn’t need a judge on a secret court authorizing him to do what the Constitution already authorizes him to do — not allows him, but authorizes — and that is a key word: Authorizes.
He’s the commander-in-chief. He is authorized to defend and protect the country, and he doesn’t need some judge, particularly a bunch of judges who may now be leaking like sieves anyway to the media about what’s going on in their court. He doesn’t need a judge on a secret court authorizing him to do what the Constitution authorizes him to do. The court is usurping his power, and those of you, our good friends on the left, who are encouraging this, are usurping the president’s power, and you would only do this if the president were a Republican and named Bush. Because Clinton did this and nobody cared about it. Clinton did far more than this, and nobody cared about it, on the left, and Sam Alito never spoke about any of this and yet they’re going to try to tie him to other people’s words on this and other things. But these requirements, as you will see when you go to the website, they are incredible. The liberals make it sound like you just stroll into a judge, file a couple of pages, and off to the races you go with your warrant. But that’s not the case.
RUSH: I wanted to expand on this whole thing of ideological corruption that I mentioned talking to Colin from Normal, Illinois. I’m not sure if I were a Democrat I would want Teddy Kennedy out there talking about ethics and morality. Ted Kennedy was on ABC yesterday, kept referring to the GOP’s “culture of corruption,” and like James Taranto of OpinionJournal.com says. He’s got the best retort. Any time Kennedy stands up and starts talking about corruption. He says, “Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment.” It’s just classic. I just love it. “Mary Jo Kopechne, unavailable for comment.” So they send Teddy Kennedy out. He’s going to write a children’s book, and this is hayseed time. It’s tough to keep up with these people. But as I said, they can talk about a culture of corruption in the Republican Party, culture of corruption anywhere. I’ll tell you what’s corrupted and that’s their ideology. Liberalism is corrupted, and that’s what’s not being discussed. The ideological corruption of liberalism that seems to want America to lose in Iraq, that impedes the war against Islamic terrorism at almost every turn. Every opportunity the left has to impede the war, they’re doing it.
This whole NSA business is part of an ongoing campaign with these leaks to the New York Times, and from the judges and who knows who’s doing the leaking but we’re going to find out now. I tell you it’s members of Congress. We’re going to find this out. They’re doing everything we can to sabotage our effort to conduct war against this enemy. So if anything is corrupted in this country, it’s liberalism: Wanting us to lose in Iraq, impeding the war against Islamic terrorism at every turn, that for decades has pursued policies that led to skyrocketing crime rates and an explosion in welfare dependency — a movement, liberalism, that has consistently sided with education unions, instead of American children, especially poor children. It seems to me if you’re in the fence out there and if you’re going to be selecting a party to govern America, what matters most is the public’s sense of ideology that informs a particular political party, and if the liberals are doing anything to recommend them to a vast majority of Americans, I can’t see it. I don’t know what it is. They think they’re scoring big with all this, but the real corruption in this country, the real corruption has occurred ideologically. It’s with liberalism.
RUSH: Dan in Orlando, Florida. Welcome to the program, sir. It’s great to have you with us on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi. Good afternoon, Rush. Former federal agent with extensive experience working cases under FISA, and it was back during the middle 1980s when the stuff wasn’t on the front page, very, very frustrating work — and a lot of the public just doesn’t have a tenth of the understanding of what’s involved.
RUSH: Okay, let me ask you a question right there. Because, if you’ve been listening, as you probably heard, the latest line from the left is, “Hey, if electronic surveillance uncovers something, fine. Go ahead and act on it then just drop over to FISA. You’ve got 72 hours to get a warrant and everything is legal. Is it that easy?”
CALLER: Well, Rush, it’s not that easy. There’s two separate divisions. One being working a case on the criminal side; another working a case on the FISA side, and the two could never meet. In other words, anything I was working on, I could never go down to an assistant United States attorney to brief them on the case and try to get a search warrant or an arrest warrant or any kind of wiretap or anything else. They weren’t even authorized to hear my case. They didn’t have the security clearances involved. Everything that I worked had to be under FISA. When a case would be opened it was opened under a preliminary investigation and I could do basic things such as running a license plate number, for example, off a car, things of that nature. Once I found out certain amount of information, I had to convince, back at headquarters, a supervisor to allow me to proceed to a full investigation. During that full investigation, I would have to develop enough facts and information without any kind of sophisticated means, in order to develop a FISA application. Now, that FISA application had to go to my supervisor in the field; it had to go to the supervisor at headquarters, and if all those people approved, then it went to a certain person at the Department of Justice — and, by the way, it was a woman at the time, and she had several staff of very junior lawyers, right out of law school, just trying to whip the world and really make something out of things and stuff, and it would be — They would review any affidavit and I would get some of the most idiot questions back that would lead me to believe, “I may as well forget it,” because I had to have the whole case worked and why would I need any kind of sophisticated means to work the case if I already have to have to worked…” You see what I’m saying? It’s a dog chasing his tail.
RUSH: Right, and by the time you add electronic surveillance into this, when you don’t even know who your subject is.
CALLER: Well, Rush, let me tell you something. Every FISA case that I worked — and I worked 30, maybe 35 in my tenure — none of them had a FISA application go out of the Department of Justice to even be presented to the FISA Court. The woman that was there was always fearful of something being turned back or turned away from the FISA Court. So every little thing was nitpicked and so forth. Now, maybe that was good. Another thing is, if I had a case that developed that involved a US person — and we had a definition of that. A US person is not just a naturalized citizen or a born citizen of the US. If somebody had a green card, they were considered a US person. Well, we saw where a lot of these guys —
RUSH: (Laughing.) Gosh.
CALLER: That was the first thing they tried to do was get a green card, and then they became a US person, you were not going to get anything approved. Don’t even ask for it. Don’t even apply.
RUSH: You know, this is surprising, I’m sure, to a lot of people, because most people think federal agents are jackbooted thugs. They do whatever they want. There’s nobody’s gonna rein you guys in or stop you, that you have free rein to just go entrap anybody any time you want to, and I think that’s one of the reasons here that we’re having such trouble getting people to understand this is the misinterpretation, or misunderstanding, of just what kind of power federal agents have. Anyway, Dan, that’s illuminating. I’m stunned. Actually, I’m not. I’m not. I’m glad you called to actually substantiate all this that we’ve confirmed ourselves.