Dispatches from the Creation Wars

More STACLU Inconsistency

Oak Leaf has a post complaining that the Clinton administration allegedly had tapped Princess Diana’s phone at the time she died. A British report on her death (good lord, do they not have something better to do wih their time? She’s dead. Get over it.) apparently is going to charge that the “American secret service” (I presume they mean the CIA rather than the actual Secret Service) had bugged her phone. Oak Leaf demands answers:

So why was the Clinton Administration, in the tradition of J. Edger Hoover, intercepting these phone calls in the United Kingdom. What other phone calls did they intercept and what files do they have? Who gave the orders, what did the President know and when did he know it?

Was the Clinton Administration building a file to use as an attempt to blackmail the future Monarch?

In the 90s, if it had been discovered that the Government of John Major was intercepting the phone conversations of Pauline Gore (Al Gores mother), I would have been equally disgusted.

The American People, the Congress and our Allies deserve answers.

And I agree with him. There ought to be an investigation into this and we do deserve answers to those questions. While I could not possibly care any less about Princess Di, and absolutely do not understand the obsession so many people have with her (and the entire royal family for that matter), there is no conceivably valid reason for our government to be tapping her phone and listening to her conversations. But that does not excuse Oak Leaf’s hypocrisy on the matter.

This is a guy who cheerleads constantly for the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. He dogmatically supports an administration that not only engages in warrantless wiretapping on American citizens, but he demands investigations and cays that we deserve answers while defending an administration that takes the position that no one has any right to even question their wiretapping policy in court. He demands oversight on the old wiretapping of a foreign citizen, but applauds warrantless wiretapping of our own citizens and applauds the administration that says they have the sole authority to carry it out and no one has any authority to even question them about it, much less make them stop doing so, or to even reveal who has been wiretapped and why. Pure hypocrisy.


  1. #1 Jeff Hebert
    December 12, 2006

    What these guys are really trying to do is to take a sarcastic poke at “liberals” for being outraged about warrantless wiretapping by pointing out that the Uber King of America-Hating Democrat Scum — Bill Clinton — did “the same thing”. This, of course, is arrant nonsense. As Glenn Greenwald says, the key difference is that what Bill Clinton’s CIA did was not illegal, as FISA does not cover CIA surveillance of non-US citizens on non-US soil. On the other hand, George Bush’s administration has knowingly — and proudly — violated the FISA laws, which explicitly prohibit the surveillance of US citizens on US soil without a court warrant.

    One administration broke the law and the other did not. I don’t see what’s so complicated about that, but it apparently eludes the bright minds of the wingnutosphere.

    Having said that, I too would be curious to know why the CIA felt it necessary to eavesdrop on a flighty, neurotic, divorced member of the British Royal Family, our putative allies. Did they not have more likely targets to monitor like, oh, I don’t know, maybe terrorists? Perhaps they overheard “Blow job” and thought it was some sort of bomb reference …

  2. #2 Raging Bee
    December 12, 2006

    I’ve heard this is a longstanding feature of the US-UK “special relationship:” both countries have laws against their own spy-services invading their own citizens’ privacy; therefore, to get around the laws, our NSA (and maybe CIA) spy on their people, while their MI-5 (or MI-6?) spy on ours, and they occasionally swap notes.

  3. #3 TomMil
    December 12, 2006

    Does he really think she was a “future Monarch?”.

  4. #4 Raging Bee
    December 12, 2006

    Jeff: if Diana was the only Brit our spy services were spying on, I’ll be VERY surprised.

  5. #5 Colst
    December 12, 2006

    “Does he really think she was a “future Monarch?”.”

    I think that it is fairly clear from the context (that is, the references to Pauline and Al Gore) that “future Monarch” refers to Diana’s son.

  6. #6 Colst
    December 12, 2006

    I should add that in the full post, it is very clear that “future Monarch” does not refer to Diana.

  7. #7 Jeff Hebert
    December 12, 2006

    Pardon, I said “CIA” but I believe it’s actually the NSA that is alleged to have engaged in the DiSpy. In the interest of fairness, the NSA denies any program targeting Princess Diana.

    The larger point being raised here is, as I mentioned, that people like the STACLU are trying to intimate that a legal program spying on non-US citizens on non-US soil is the same thing as an explicitly illegal program spying on US citizens on US soil. It doesn’t matter if it was Princess Di, the entire Royal Family, or the Westminster Abbey Flower Girl is beside the point — Princess Di just glams it up.

  8. #8 Kate
    December 12, 2006

    Colst, are you so certain that the queen will outlive her own son Charles (who is still heir to the throne last I heard, despite the bits and pieces being banded back and forth about the grandchildren).

    And it would be suprising if they managed to find something more blackmail worthy from Diana than the “tampon” comments from Charles himself to his then mistress (now wife) Camilla.

  9. #9 tacitus
    December 12, 2006

    While I could not possibly care any less about Princess Di, and absolutely do not understand the obsession so many people have with her (and the entire royal family for that matter),

    What is there not to understand? Power and wealth (with the odd bit of glamour, scandal and misfortune thrown in) have always attracted the public eye. The fact that the Queen is still the British head of state (albeit mostly a symbolic one) doesn’t hurt either.

    You might as well ask why Americans obsess about any celebrity; Hollywood stars, the Kennedys, billionaire businessmen, etc. etc. And Diana’s tragic early death and rise to sainthood is no anomaly either. Think JFK, RFK, Selena, John Lennon, and so on.

    This type of obsession is mostly like just a side-effect of our evolutionary history, like religion. Our brains are wired for empathy, and the same pathways that have helped us identify with people in trouble or in need, can turn to vicarious living in idle moments.

  10. #10 Ginger Yellow
    December 12, 2006

    I wonder if Oak Leaf was outraged when the NSA asked Britain’s GCHQ to help eavesdrop on several governments’ delegations to the UN during the build-up to the Iraq war .

  11. #11 Colst
    December 12, 2006

    “Colst, are you so certain that the queen will outlive her own son Charles”

    I’m not so certain, I never made any such claim, and whether or not Charles outlives his mother is not relevant to my comment or even to post to which Ed linked. Oak Leaf *is* assuming that at least one of William and Henry will outlive their father and grandmother, but I don’t see the problem with making that assumption in this context.

  12. #12 Tulle
    December 12, 2006

    Ed, this is something I know a little, very little about. Since on or about 1981 the NSA has had four to now over thirty cray computers for the sole reason to listen to phone calls entering or leaving the USA. In the 80’s they just looked for certain words and then recorded the call for someone to listen to later. Until 95′, when I made a call overseas, I would always talk about the “bomb” of a movie just to make sure they had something to do. By 95 I figured that they no longer had to have someone listen to the calls (why else order 25 more crays?), so I stopped.

  13. #13 Grumpy
    December 12, 2006

    I think that it is fairly clear from the context (that is, the references to Pauline and Al Gore) that “future Monarch” refers to Diana’s son.

    Fair enough. But does anyone at the CIA realize that the British monarchy has vanishingly little sway over the affairs of the nation? That itself makes such a plot extremely implausible.

  14. #14 Colst
    December 14, 2006

    Well, did anyone actually expect plausibility from that site?

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