Monday, March 19, 2007

Conscience Part II: Time Is On Mike's Side

Ah, time. It’s such a magical thing. For example, it can turn a schleppy caterpillar into a lovely butterfly, or a tiny acorn into a majestic oak tree. It can also morph Mike Rogers from a hardline, no-questions-asked supporter of the USA Patriot Act (in 2001 AND 2005) into a civil-liberties-aware, Constitutional watchdog who is calling for an investigation into FBI tactics.

After reading Communications Guru’s thoughtful Sunday post on this topic, in which Mr. Rogers expressed his concern that “there may have been some abuses” in domestic intelligence gathering, I figured it would be fun to review some of Mr. Rogers' previous comments on the subject.

The retrospectoscope is all polished up -- let's go!

Mike Rogers has happily touted (or flaunted, pick a verb) his law enforcement expertise, particularly during the creation of the Patriot Act. From Rogers' own website:
In Congress, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mike’s expertise was sought out during development of the USA PATRIOT Act, which gives law enforcement the tools necessary for tracking terrorists with today’s technology. Mike’s expertise proved invaluable in understanding how wiretaps are obtained and used, the complex checks and balances that prevent abuse of wire taps, and why the rules based on 1970s technology were no longer applicable in the day of cell phones and the Internet.

From a NewsHour interview, when asked his opinion on renewing the Patriot Act:

REP. MIKE ROGERS: We are at war. This bill helps protect America and does not suspend the Constitution of the United States.

From USA Today, when questioned about potential infringement of civil liberties:

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., a former FBI agent, dismissed the worries about civil liberties as "ridiculous" because "we are at war." He recalled using such tools in gang and child molestation investigations.

"All we do in the Patriot Act is say, 'Look, if we can go after child molesters sitting in the library and bombers who we need to sneak-and-peek on a warrant, we ought to be able to go after terrorists,'" he said.

Personally, I’m getting a little tired of the local papers giving Mr. Rogers a pass when he flip-flops this spectacularly.

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