Joe Klein's latest column in Time Magazine badly butchers the debate over the NSA's program of wiretapping Americans without judicial oversight. Klein gets every single salient detail wrong, making it sounds like the Democrats are bent on hobbling the NSA's activities in wiretapping actual terrorist abroad, when in fact the bill is aimed at ensuring that domestic surveillance is undertaken in accord with the rule of law. Ryan Singel has the detailed scoop at Wired's Threat Level.
If the NSA can only get at a suspected foreign target by wiretapping them inside the United States and they think the target may talk to Americans, the bill would require them to prove to the FISA court that they have probable cause to believe the target is a foreigner. If it's an emergency, they can start tapping and days later provide "probable cause" that the foreigner is a foreigner to the secret court.
That's what Klein calls giving "terrorists the same legal protections as Americans." In the case of targeting Americans inside America, the government has to prove much more – mainly that the government has good reason to believe that the American is an agent of a foreign power or is a terrorist.
Moreover, Klein can't even figure out that the House bill that passed last week IS the House Intelligence Committee's bill, not some Democratic substitute masterminded by Pelosi…
I have no idea how Klein managed to keep a mainstream media job after lying about his anonymous authorship of Primary Colors (after my Shakespeare professor Donald Foster outed him using textual analysis software).
But Time ought to stop Klein from writing about any substantive topic, especially FISA.
Because when it comes to these topics, Klein is well beyond stupid. He's dangerous.