Thursday, September 14, 2006

Are democrats more concerned for protecting terrorists than our security?

It seems an incendiary question. House Majority Leader Boehner said Tuesday that "looking at their votes, I wonder if they're more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people." (I should note that most media reports leave out the context of "their votes").

Democrats were indignant, and jumped all over Boehner. Representative Obey was particularly incensed:

"I come from the state of Joe McCarthy," said Obey, a Democrat from Wausau. "I know a first-rate McCarthy when I see one. And I also know a third-rate McCarthy when I see one. And we saw one yesterday."

But now consider this piece of news from the washington post, Secrecy Dispute Snarls Nomination:

Six months after President Bush chose him to lead a new anti-terrorism arm of the Justice Department, Kenneth L. Wainstein is still U.S. attorney for the District -- his nomination stalled by squabbling in the Senate.

Wainstein, a longtime prosecutor and former FBI official, had seemed on track to become the assistant attorney general for national security. Two Senate committees -- Judiciary and Intelligence -- endorsed his nomination. But for more than two months, he has awaited a vote by the full Senate.

What? The HEAD of the new 9/11-commission-blessed anti-terrorism department of justice, still vacant? That can't be good for our domestic security, can it? And what is it that is hurting our domestic security, holding up this nomination that cleared committee months ago? What could be more important than our security?

Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) has blocked a vote because the Justice Department has not turned over to him several FBI documents that are connected to the abuse of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

A democrat is blocking the nominee, and hurting our domestic security, because he wants papers about abuse of terrorists? Why, that sounds a little like a democrat more concerned about the protecting the terorrists at Gitmo than our security. How could that be? Maybe I'm wrong about what this office does:

The national security division, created this year as part of the revision of the Patriot Act, will consolidate into one operation three branches of the Justice Department: counterterrorism, counterespionage and the office that oversees applications to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court.

No, it's domestic security all right. Maybe these documents aren't what I think:

At issue are several documents that were sent to or from Wainstein or his deputy after FBI agents at Guantanamo reported witnessing sometimes abusive interrogations of detainees.

Nope, that's not it. But maybe there's something about the nominee himself:

Levin's position has frustrated even some allies, who have urged the Senate to move forward with a vote. Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, the chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 commission, have written in support of Wainstein. Charles S. Robb, a Democrat and former senator from Virginia whose commission on weapons of mass destruction recommended the restructuring of national security operations, wrote as well in support of Wainstein.
"He's an innocent hostage in what is a pretty typical congressional response," said Norman J. Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute

OK, let's try one more time. Is Carl Levin, a DEMOCRAT, threatening our domestic security by keeping the administration from filling the leadership position of an important new agency tasked to protect us?:

Because it is a newly created position, the national security job cannot be filled by a recess appointment, as the president has done in other instances in which a nominee has been blocked.
If the Senate does not act on Wainstein's nomination before it adjourns at the end of the year, Wainstein would have to be nominated once again.

Yes, nobody can run the new agency until Levin lets them. And is he harming our domestic security out of concern for protecting terrorists?:

Levin, a lawyer, has been pressing hard for answers about Guantanamo, and Wainstein's nomination offered the senator perhaps his best opportunity to pressure the administration.

Yep. Levin wants to pressure the administration about how terrorists have been treated at Gitmo, and to do so he's blocking the appointment of the lead of a major new agency tasked with our domestic security.

So tell me again, why is it wrong to say that it APPEARS that democrats are more concerned with protecting terrorists than our security?

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