Friday, June 10, 2005

No need for Patriot Act, investigations continue to show

As the results from the latest FBI investigation show still more vividly than ever, anti-terrorist intelligence gathering pre-9/11 produced a veritable bounty of dots, and they expose weaknesses that are organizational, not legal. That's worth noting, don't you think, as we debate once more the necessity of a Patriot Act that drastically curtails past privacy protections?? The post-game analysis shows we wouldn't have had a 9-11, we wouldn't have had an Afghanistan and we wouldn't have had an occupation of Iraq, if only the FBI and CIA were simply following old laws and behaving less like young siblings. After we pause on that, could we reflect on what Mark Felt fought for in 1973? They have a little bit to do with each other.

Disclaimer: To the extent any of the weaknesses I classify as "organizational" arise indirectly from real legal barriers--and to the extent certain Patriot Act provisions lift these barriers-- then the agencies' pre-9-11 fumbles and failures argue
for these provisions and not against them...obviously. Note I know zilch about the Patriot Act. I do dimly recall from news stories about the "9-11 Commission," though, that the committee and administration desperately had hoped not to find incompetence to blame, but that's what they found. Specifically, I think they said that only in two instances was sharing prevented by a real legal barrier.

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