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Wiretaps Win For W
By Dick Morris


January 25, 2006

Democrats who criticize President Bush for using warrantless wiretaps to elicit information about potential terrorist activity should be aware that the American people strongly support his decision to do so. Believe it or not, they trust their own government and the president they elected to use the information wisely and for our own protection.

The Fox News poll of Jan. 11 asked voters whether the president "should have the power to authorize the National Security Agency to monitor electronic communications of suspected terrorists without getting warrants, even if one end of the communication is in the United States?" By 58 percent to 36 percent, the answer was "yes." Indeed, 42 percent of the nation's Democrats agreed that the president should have this power.

The poll also tells us that Americans attribute the absence of terrorist attacks over the past 41/2 years to our government's efforts to protect us. Asked if the fact that there has been no major terror attack since 9/11 was due to "security measures working" or to "no attack having been planned" by terrorists, Americans credited government efforts by 46 percent (to 22 percent for the terrorists, with another 20 percent saying both factors contributed).

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Other results: Some 61 percent - including a majority of the Democrats - said they'd be willing to surrender some of their own privacy to help prevent terror attacks. Respondents support renewal of the Patriot Act by 57 percent to 31 percent. (Even Democrats only oppose renewal by 40-47.)

And those who called attention to the NSA policy of warrant-less wiretaps are called "traitors" by 50 percent of the voters and "whistleblowers" by only 27 percent. Democrats opted for "traitors" by 42 percent to 34 percent.

In other words, Ann Coulter represents the Democratic mainstream better than Al Gore on this one!

These statistics tell us that Democratic politicians are just hurting themselves by raising and dwelling on the wiretap issue. Americans don't fear giving their government the power to monitor conversations between Americans and foreigners even if no warrant sanctions the intrusion - we're more afraid of al Qaeda than of our own elected officials.

No wonder President Bush is willing to let Congress hold hearings about the NSA intercepts and the legal basis that allows them. The more focus this issue gets, the more it helps his administration.

This time, liberal bias in the media helps moderates and conservatives - no pol should mind being attacked for doing things that the public approves.

Once again, liberals are misreading the public's heavy doubts about the wisdom of the war in Iraq and our ability to win. These are pragmatic concerns, not an embrace of the left's take on national security. In fact, there is a broad and deep consensus when it comes to homeland security, which any politician defies at the risk of losing support.

Nor did the NSA wiretaps break the law. The president's inherent power as commander in chief allows them. Warrant-less wiretaps for tax, drug, or even organized crime investigations would clearly be illegal. But to protect our country in the War on Terror, they are extensions of military action and are as legal as any wartime intelligence gathering would be. The fact that there has been no declaration of war is a distinction without a difference. Congress has approved military action and within that approval lies an implicit assumption that the president will use our intelligence services to prevail militarily, on the home front as surely as he does in Iraq and Afghanistan.



E-mail: Dick Morris at

Dick Morris was an adviser to Bill Clinton for 20 years. Look for Dick's new book "Condi vs. Hillary" available now. Copyright 2005 Dick Morris, All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively to subscribers by Cagle, Inc.

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