Glenn Greenwald of Salon says, “Time Magazine has done a superb service for the country by illustrating everything that is rancid and corrupt with our political media.” Geez, thanks, but that’s a service I could do without.
Joe Klein, Time columnist (and writer of fiction) botched his analysis of the Restore Act, whipping up the kind of fear that works so much better than truth when it comes to getting your way. I’m not even going to link to his column; too many people who know nothing about it will read it and be misled. Even the correction is wrong. In fact, the Restore Act, if passed, will give the feds a lot of power that current law does not (unless you believe that presidents are exempt from the law, as our current decider consistently argues). Wired lays out the bad news:
[T]he Restore Act modifies FISA to let the NSA effortlessly get year-long warrants from the court to order AT&T to wiretap its internet backbone to capture all traffic going to Al Qaeda, Russia or even the World Trade Organization.
That’s also why the provision in question is known as the “basket order” provision, which the ACLU opposes and contends is unconstitutional, arguing it doesn’t fit with the Fourth Amendment’s requirement for warrants specifying the person and place to be searched.
That expansion is not even taking into account the court-free provision which would let the NSA order AOL, Yahoo and Google to give it a copy of all emails from their users when the IP addresses of the sender and receivers are believed to be in IP blocks outside the country.
The Restore Act is a clear and enormous expansion of the government’s traditional wiretapping powers under FISA.
But Klein’s column calls it giving terrorists civil liberties, and Time’s ‘correction’ fails to correct that.
Wired’s conclusion? “The whole magazine has proved itself too incompetent to write about anything more complicated than John Edwards’ haircut.” Of course, that’s the trivia upon which the current election hangs.
Klein has acknowledged he’s out of his depth – “I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who’s right” – adding, after comments suggested that’s an outrageous stance for a national columnist read by millions of people – “about this minor detail of a bill that will never find its way out of the Congress.”
Especially if widely-read columnists mislead the public and stir up unwarranted fear.