CNN anchor Pilgrim: Democratic opposition to Bush's domestic spying "a fairly risky move given that any day there could be another attack"

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

CNN anchor Kitty Pilgrim claimed that Democratic criticism of President Bush's controversial decision to authorize wiretaps of American citizens without warrants "seems like a clear stand against the president on terror, a fairly risky move given that any day there could be another attack." In fact, the Democrats -- and several Republicans -- might argue that it's a "clear stand" in favor of complying with the law and "clear stand against the president" on civil liberties, not "terror."

On the December 19 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, guest host Kitty Pilgrim claimed that Democratic criticism of President Bush's controversial decision to authorize wiretaps of American citizens without warrants is "a fairly risky move given that any day there could be another attack." Pilgrim's comment came during a discussion with Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield, and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin:

TOOBIN: That's right. And he [Bush] went defending this now-controversial NSA policy. But to me the most interesting part of this NSA controversy that started is that you have the Democrats for the first time since September 11th attacking the president about national security. They seem to think, and I don't know if they're right, that the issue of protecting individual rights will trump the issue of we're protecting you from terrorism. I've been shocked at how aggressive the Democrats have come out on this, because this is an issue that has been right into the president's wheelhouse for a long time.

FUND: Especially because we don't know a whole lot about this. We do know that Congress was briefed. We don't know quite how much they were briefed. We know [Senate Democratic Leader] Harry Reid [D-NV] was briefed. Also, during the Clinton administration there was a program called Echelon, which is the NSA scooping up all the electronic communications in the country. Whether or not they were monitoring people at that time is a separate issue. I think it's interesting the Democrats are attacking because people do care about civil liberties. I'm interested that they're attacking before all the facts are in.

PILGRIM: And it certainly seems like a clear stand against the president on terror, a fairly risky move given that any day there could be another attack.

In fact, the Democrats -- and several Republicans -- might argue that it's a "clear stand" in favor of complying with the law and a "clear stand against the president" on civil liberties, not "terror." Moreover, Pilgrim's statement implies that those criticizing the president over his recently disclosed authorization of domestic spying run the risk of being held responsible in the event of another terrorist attack.

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Domestic Spying
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.