I took some flak yesterday for my piece arguing the wiretap position was bunk. I am particularly unqualified to comment on matters of law, but this gentleman certainly is qualified, especially national security and intelligence law.
Bryan Cunningham served in senior positions in the CIA and as a federal prosecutor under President Clinton, and as deputy legal adviser to the National Security Council under President George W. Bush.
The Honorable Anna Diggs-Taylor probably means well. The lone judge in American history to order a president to halt in wartime a foreign-intelligence-collection program that has undoubtedly saved lives probably sympathizes with the journalists, and others, who are suing to stop the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) in which NSA intercepts foreign-U.S. terrorist communications. She probably feels in her heart the program is wrong, and undoubtedly hears the footsteps of the federal judicial panel moving towards taking this case away from her and consolidating it with others.
We can sympathize with her motives, and even share some of her gut feelings of uneasiness about the program. But we cannot accept the stunningly amateurish piece of, I hesitate even to call it legal work, by which she purports to make our government go deaf and dumb to those would murder us en masse. Her bosses on the Court of Appeals and/or the United States Supreme Court will not accept it.
Now the fun part is that this lawyer actually writes in comprehensible and even entertaining prose, and Judge Diggs-Taylor does not come of as much of a legal mind, more a political hack.
Much will be said about this opinion in the coming days. I’ll start with this: I wouldn’t accept this utterly unsupported, constitutionally and logically bankrupt collection of musings from a first-year law student, much less a new lawyer at my firm. Why not? Herewith, a start at a very long list of what’s wrong with Judge Taylor’s opinion.