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One of the main rejoinders to my stance on FISA, which is that the government should get warrants whenever US territory is involved, is to say "What's the harm? How could the government use this to spy on innocent Americans?" Just off the top of my head, it seems tailor-made for spying on Arab Americans who organize peacefully to lobby against America's Israel policy. Whatever your position on that policy, this should give you pause . . . since it would make it equally easy to spy on AIPAC tomorrow.

But the real answer is, "What's the harm in getting a warrant from a FISA court?" If the government isn't going to spy on millions of innocent Americans, it really shouldn't be that onerous to pre-clear it with the court.

I don't blog a lot about national security because it just isn't my area of expertise. But my general position is that the government should have as little freedom as possible to do anything, particularly spying on people on American soil. Speaking as someone who lost more friends and acquaintances in the World Trade Center than almost any of my readers, I think there are worse things than terrorism. But it's also not really clear to me how much this helps us fight terrorism. As far as I can tell, the FISA courts are extraordinarily willing to grant the government what it asks for.