Obama Shreds the Constitution

Just kidding. Actually, there has been a series of stories over the last couple of days for which the Obama administration deserves a pat on the back.
First, the administration announced that it supports extending all three of the provisions of the Patriot Act that will expire at the end of the year:

The provisions give the government the authority to access business records, operate roving wiretaps and conduct surveillance on “lone wolf” suspects with no known link to foreign governments or terrorist groups.

Evidently we don’t need to worry about those library books any more.
Second, President Obama reportedly signed an order authorizing special forces to take out one of al Qaeda’s most vicious operatives, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, Somalia’s top terrorist. Nabhan was behind the bombing of a resort in Kenya and an attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner, and is suspected in involvement in two African embassy bombings. He also was involved in the pipeline that brought a number of young Somalis from Minnesota to Somalia to fight for al Qaeda, some of whom have died there.
The operation went like clockwork, as helicopters swooped over Nabhan’s convoy and opened fire. Soldiers rappelled down from the helicopters on ropes and collected two dead or wounded terrorists, including Nabhan. U.S. authorities say Nabhan was killed. If, in fact, he was only wounded, one wonders whether Obama’s executive order went so far as to allow him to be questioned without the assistance of counsel.
Finally, a coordinated effort by federal and local law enforcement authorities in New York and Colorado has disrupted an alleged al Qaeda cell and prevented what could have been a major terrorist attack:

Multiple sources told The News the FBI believes it has uncovered an Al Qaeda cell for the first time since 9/11, prompting the huge response.
“The FBI is seriously spooked about these guys,” a former senior counterterrorism official told The News. “This is not some … FBI informant-driven case. This is the real thing.” …
One of the suspects visited New York last week toting bomb-making plans after a trip to Pakistan – home to most of Al Qaeda’s leadership, sources said. …
He drove from Denver to Queens carrying documents and papers about bomb-making and bombs, the sources said. Zazi remained under constant surveillance in suburban Denver Tuesday, three sources said.
Red flags about an impending attack went up last week when Zazi visited with several people in a single day and there was worrisome information collected from wiretaps, sources said.

Thanks to the Patriot Act, they can now tap all of the suspect’s telephones, even if he picks up a disposable cell phone, rather than a single number. That’s what “roving wiretap,” authorized by the Patriot Act, means.
These are all, as I said, efforts for which the Obama administration should be congratulated. How those who voted for Change feel about them, I have no idea.
UPDATE: Andy McCarthy has much more on the politics of the Patriot Act extension here. And, as Scott noted this morning, those who voted for Change still have Obama’s feckless Iran policy to cheer.


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