Today, House Intelligence Committee member and “Bush loyalist” Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) revealed that he was a “source” for Klein’s error-filled column, and proudly defends Klein in a column titled “Klein Kerfluffle” in the National Review.
In his original column, Klein insisted that Democrats’ legislation to provide constitutional protections for government surveillance of Americans, or the RESTORE Act, would require a court order to spy on foreign terrorists (Klein has since recanted these statements). In the column, Hoekstra insists that “Klein was correct in his original contention.” In reality, as the legislation clearly states:
A court order is not required for electronic surveillance directed at the acquisition of the contents of any communication between persons that are not known to be United States persons .
Klein ignorantly claimed the RESTORE Act “would give terrorists the same legal protections as Americans.” Hoekstra adds that Klein’s assertions are a “demonstratable fact.” Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), a chief author of the RESTORE Act, countered that the legislation does exactly the opposite:
This bill provides exactly what the Director of National Intelligence asked for earlier this year: it explicitly states that no court order is required to listen to the conversations of foreigners that happen to pass through the U.S. telecommunications system. It does not grant Constitutional rights to foreign terrorists.
In his National Review piece, Hoekstra attacks progressive bloggers as “civil liberties extremists,” stating that a “belief that efforts to target al-Qaeda operatives in foreign countries” may involve U.S. citizens is evidence of “self-absorption” and “paranoia.” “The issue is not nor has it ever been about surveillance of Americans,” he alleges.
But under the hastily-passed Protect America Act, there are “virtually no protections” for U.S. callers in international communications, leaving surveillance authority to the administration. In fact, 61 percent of voters favor court protections for surveillance of Americans.
UPDATE: FDL posts the 4th amendment, stating, “Reporting skillz 101: read the original material.”
UPDATE II: Greenwald responds: “Hoekstra’s assurances of the Government’s good faith is identical to the assurances issued by Richard Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell, at exactly the time the Nixon administration was abusing their eavesdropping powers.”