The Democrats announced their new platform on national security earlier this week, promising to reverse decades of image problems on national defense and foreign policy with a policy statement long on sloganeering but dreadfully short on specifics. Yesterday they underscored their new commitment to securing America by attempting to starve the National Security Agency in a fit of pique over the work performed by the agency in terrorist surveillance. The Los Angeles Times soft-pedals this while reporting some serious pushback to the monster created by the 9/11 Commission in the intelligence community:
Republicans on the House panel defeated a Democratic push to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in spy agency funding until the Bush administration provided more information about a controversial domestic espionage program being conducted by the National Security Agency. …
Republicans on the committee defeated a Democratic amendment that sought to force the Bush administration to reveal the budget for the controversial NSA espionage program.
The Democratic measure would have withheld 20% of the NSA’s budget unless the White House agreed to disclose how much was being spent on the domestic eavesdropping program.
This encapsulates the Democratic strategy on the overall war on terror quite splendidly: ignore our national defense in order to play partisan politics. Only a moron would seriously propose cutting funds to a key component of our defense strategy during a time of war. This once again proves that the Democrats care less about keeping us safe than in winning elections, and appear willing to strip us of our defenses in order to score cheap political points.
If the Democrats really wanted to rein in a purported abuse of executive power, they could take the administration to court on the issue of conducting wartime intelligence surveillance without warrants. However, they know full well that the courts will almost certainly rule against them, especially after the testimony given by five former FISA judges at the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. If they sue and lose, it will demonstrate that Bush had it right all along and was working fully within his powers to protect the country from further attack — an effort that has resulted in over four years of safety.
Instead, now they clamor for censure and worse for supposedly breaking laws that Democrats won’t enforce through normal channels and to which they didn’t object while being regularly briefed on the program for all four years. As if that wasn’t foolish and self-centered enough, now they want to leave us without a vital means of finding and tracking potential Islamofascist terror cells within and outside the US just to extort information from the White House, information they know to be classified as are all line items for intelligence agencies.
This is what I mean when I say that the new Democratic plan for national security is the same as the old plan: a cynical strategy for political exploitation that puts the defense of our nation a distant second to their grab for power.
NOTE: This is part 1 of the look at actions at the Intelligence Committee yesterday; part II follows rather than precedes this post.