From today's Wall Street Journal Editorial
For the next 9/11 Commission, we nominate the first witness: Silvestre Reyes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He's the man now telling everyone to chill out, take it easy, there's nothing to worry about, after his fellow Democrats last week scuttled a bipartisan compromise on warrantless wiretapping of al Qaeda.
"It is an insult to the intelligence of the American people to say that we will be vulnerable unless we grant immunity for actions that happened years ago," Mr. Reyes wrote in a letter to President Bush. By "actions" he means the cooperation with U.S. intelligence by private telecom companies after 9/11, for which the companies now face more than 40 lawsuits.
Mr. Reyes's letter is a political keeper -- all the more so because it is so divorced from intelligence reality. Nearly every other professional says that Friday night's expiration of the wiretap law will do significant security harm.
What we have here is a remarkable display of the anti-antiterror minority at work. Democrats could vote directly to restrict wiretapping by the executive branch, but they lack the votes. So instead they're trying to do it through the backdoor by unleashing the trial bar to punish the telephone companies. Then if there is another terror attack, they'll blame the phone companies for not cooperating.
Mr. Bush has been doing his part in this debate, but his political capital is waning. The Republican who needs to make himself heard now is John McCain. The Arizona Senator is voting the right way, but he seems curiously disengaged from a debate that plays to his national security strengths. The time to speak up is before the next 9/11 Commission.
To read the entire editorial click on the title for a link.