Monday, December 19, 2005

Is 72 Hours Enough?

I see now that Byron York has written an NRO article that addresses the question of why the Bush administration thought it necessary to do without warrants.  The argument is that even with the ability to conduct surveillance for 72 hours, the Justice Department/ FBI bureaucracy can’t handle the paperwork required to process all of the applications for all of the surveillance that they want to conduct.  Apparently the warrant applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are a bear.  The court apparently isn’t the problem; getting the applications together is the problem.  So even with a 72 hour window, there were concerns about the ability to get the applications in on time.

Hmm.  If this story holds up, I’ll have to revise my opinion that the concern about timeliness is a red herring.  My next question would then be, if the existing law was too cumbersome, then why didn’t the administration seek to change the law?  It’s been four years!