Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Why I Am Not So Concerned About the FISA Memo

By Robert Wenzel

National Review says that the FISA memo is scarier than Watergate.

As NR notes, the memo reveals that members of the Obama administration’s Department of Justice sought court approval for the surveillance of Carter Page, allegedly for colluding with Russian interests, and extended the surveillance three times. But none of these government officials told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the warrant requests were based on an unverified dossier that had originated as a hit piece funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign to smear Donald Trump during the current 2016 campaign.

So why does NR believe that this is "bigger than Watergate"? NR tells us:
In the current FISA-gate scandal, most of the media and liberal civil libertarians are now opposing the disclosure of public documents. They are siding with those in the government who disingenuously sought surveillance to facilitate the efforts of a political campaign. This time around, the press is not after a hated Nixon administration. Civil libertarians are not demanding accountability from a conservative Reagan team. Instead, the roles are reversed.
NR is correct here as far as the facts are concerned but this is just big league power politics. Different factions vying for power will do what they can to cause power to operate for their benefit. The Dulles brothers used the CIA to benefit their crony operations. J. Edgar Hoover spied and had files on everyone. This is what government does.

The focus shouldn't be on prosecuting those who abuse power (Though I wouldn't mind if they all get sent to a supermax facility) but on eliminating the power centers that will always be targets of operators who want to abuse the centers for their own benefit. Remember, Hayek in Chapter 10 of The Road to Serfdom teaches us that the worst get on top precisely because they are willing to do whatever it takes to gain power.

Thus, the focus shouldn't be as much on the perpetrators who abused power this time but on the shutting down of power centers. All of them, the FISA courts, the FBI, the CIA and the NSA, for starters.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of  EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on  iphone and stitcher.


  1. I would think that highlighting instances in abuses of power would help others to see that the power centers need to be shut down.

  2. ...and until we shut down the power centers we prosecute the hell out of those that abuse that power. To the jails...go!

  3. It's all Kabuki theater (I don't really know what that means, but have always wanted to use this phrase). Both tribes and their followers allege that their side has "right" on their side, and is after "the truth." But the vicious fighting by the DNC against the GOP, and vice versa, is never to reduce their power over us, but rather simply to decide who gets to exercise the power.

    1. Thats exactly right and why you cant get from Here:(prosecuting those who abuse power,) to there: (eliminating the power centers that will always be targets of operators who want to abuse the centers for their own benefit.)

      Try to make that step and the whole organization will circle the wagons so fast it will make your head spin. - I know Robert it was a hypothetical but getting to there from here has never been more impossible.

    2. Couldn't agree more. Given human nature and the apparent widespread belief in might makes right, eliminating power centers is a practical non-starter. In addition, eliminating power centers would require eliminating weapons and that is not a libertarian position. Better to encourage more power centers so that each person could join the power center of their choice. Only this could effectively reduce power imbalances which are the real barriers to a more libertarian society. A consistent understanding of the 2nd amendment would move us in this direction. A difficult concept for some to grasp but one that will lead us to a more libertarian society.