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What “warrantless wiretapping” hath wrought

By See-Dubya  •  July 11, 2008 06:24 PM

Great post at Protein Wisdom pointing out the contrast between the rhetoric of “domestic spying” and the reality of FISA–that tapped phones on international calls can save lives, stop terrorists, and rescue hostages:

The stunning rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. military contractors owed its success not just to artful deception, but also to a five-year U.S.-Colombian operation that choked their captors’ ability to communicate.

Known as “Alliance,” it began with a satellite phone call in 2003, just weeks after the Americans’ surveillance plane crashed in the southern Colombian jungle, according to U.S. and Colombian investigators and court documents.

The call came from Nancy Conde, the regional finance and supply chief for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, whose boyfriend would become the American hostages’ jailer. She was calling confederates in Miami to see if they could supply the rebels with some satellite phones.

What Conde didn’t know was that state security agents were listening.

Now, the article isn’t clear on exactly which state’s security agents were listening, though by the wording of the article I suspect it was Colombia’s. What is clear is an amazing intel coup in which the FBI turned Conde’s contacts in Miami and got them to sell the rebels tapped phones.

Which led, eventually, to the hostages being freed.

Again, not directly applicable to FISA, unless one of the FARC members placed a call on one of those tapped phones into the United States…to another member of a hidden terror cell or to one of their contacts.

Like, for example, Massachusetts Congressman James McGovern, and his aide James Jones.

Oh yeah, Rep. McGovern. Back in April, after that story broke, he was still lobbying hard against free trade with the Colombian government, noting that he had

…visited the slums of Bogotá where the poor and the internally displaced struggle to survive. I’ve spent hours in meetings with human rights groups, with families whose loved ones are held in brutal captivity by the FARC, and with victims of violence by the paramilitaries and the Colombian Army.

And yet Rep. McGovern’s “hours in meetings” about the hostages the FARC held were shambolically ineffective, while the Uribe government’s daring, amazing Alistair-MacLean-novel rescue of the hostages set them free and gives us amazing video like this statement of real moral clarity by hostage Marc Gonsalves.

Maybe it’s time that useless obstructionist Democrats like McGovern and Pelosi got out of the way and let our ally do his thing.


P.S. I so admire Gonsalves for taking the time to do a press conference and tell the truth about the FARC. He’s got an amazing story and I look forward to seeing and hearing more from him.

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