9/11 Commission: FISA Court Too Slow


(Gold9472: Yet another instance of how the 9/11 Commission promotes the Bush Administration's policies.)


Bush administration critics continue to insist that the president could have gotten all the wiretap authority he needed from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to intercept terrorist communications as they plotted the next 9/11 attack.

But it turns out, the 9/11 Commission strongly disagreed.

As noted on yesterday's "Meet the Press" by National Review Online reporter Byron York, 9/11 Commission Report clearly states:

"The FISA application process continues to be long and slow. Requests for approvals are overwhelming the ability of the system to process them and to conduct a surveillance.”

In a passage not noted by Mr. York, the Commission blasts the FISA process even more harshly, complaining:

"The 'wall' between criminal and intelligence investigations apparently caused agents to be less aggressive than they might otherwise have been in pursuing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance powers in counterterrorism investigations.

"Moreover, the FISA approval process involved multiple levels of review, which also discouraged agents from using such surveillance. Many agents also told us that the process for getting FISA packages approved at FBI Headquarters and the Department of Justice was incredibly lengthy and inefficient.

"Several FBI agents added that, prior to 9/11, FISA-derived intelligence information was not fully exploited but was collected primarily to justify continuing the surveillance."

Since the media generally regards the 9/11 Commission as the ultimate authority on such matters, we trust reporters will now stop insisting that the FISA process was wholly adequate to keep America safe from terrorists.