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August 16, 2006

More Sullivan Bashing: Check Out All The Evidence Against the SkyBombers

Allah sent me this; JackStraw sent it to me earlier for another purpose. I'll get to the second purpose in a moment.

On the evidence:

MI5 agents secretly infiltrated a bomb factory and found liquid explosives and detonators weeks before they foiled the plot to blow up America-bound passenger jets flying from British airports.


The high-risk strategy which allowed the terror plot to almost reach fruition - potentially putting civilian lives at risk - is understood to have been discussed with the Prime Minister and by the Government's crisis management Cobra committee.


Hours of tape recordings, photographs and video are now likely to be used as evidence against the men if they are charged for their part in the alleged plot.

Tiny eavesdropping devices picked up conversations involving various members of the suspected terrorist gang as they put the finishing touches to their plans to blow up a series of commercial flights over the Atlantic.

During months of careful work, the specialists are understood to have managed to get inside the gang's bomb-making factory - giving final confirmation that the plotters were indeed planning mass murder.


Intelligence sources last night indicated that some of the bomb-making chemicals and equipment being used by the gang had been seen 'in situ' but could not be removed or replaced without raising suspicion.

Seems like the Brits have gone to great lengths to frame these guys just to make sure an American Senator they've barely ever heard of wins in a campaign he was already likely to prevail in, doesn't it?

On to the second purpose of this article. JackStraw points out that the left claims the British did their wiretapping and bugging right, because they "sought warrants first, as the law demands."

But what kind of warrants?

"To install an eavesdropping device in a target's home we need to apply to the Secretary of State for a warrant under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to authorise the intrusion on the privacy of the target."

It adds: "In most cases we must also apply for a 'property warrant' under the Intelligence Services Act 1994 to authorise any interference with the target's property necessary to install the device covertly.

"As with interception, we must convince the Secretary of State that what we are proposing to do is both necessary and proportionate."

Note that when bugs are being planted inside the area afforded the greatest amount of privacy protection -- the home -- the "warrant" required is a warrant not from an independent judge, but from a member of Tony Blair's government, his Secretary of State. (A position I confess sounds American, but I imagine the UK Telegraph knows what it's talking about.)

How, exactly, is this different than Bush's Attorney General issuing similar warrants on his own authority? That's provided for in the Patriot Act, or at least was, before liberals went after it. (I confess I don't know if that's still permitted or not.)

So: Yes, the British did a nice job. Using tools that the American President doesn't have any longer, or, if he does still have them, were strenuously opposed by liberals.

And bugging a home is a big step up from the less-invasive practice of tapping a phone line, which doesn't require entry into the home, but the tapping of a common-carrier phone line the user doesn't own.

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posted by Ace at 12:53 PM

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