Wiretaps make strange bedfellows

Two groups are planning to file lawsuits against the Bush administration over the warrantless wiretapping program. Both groups hope to get the courts to order an immediate end to the program. The Justice Department is expected to mount a vigorous defense, according to the New York Times.

As right-wingers no doubt expect, one of the groups filing the complaint is the ACLU--the other is the Center for Constitutional Rights. But look at the client list for the ACLU:

One of the A.C.L.U. plaintiffs, Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, said that a Stanford student studying in Egypt conducted research for him on political opposition groups, and that he worried that communications between them on sensitive political topics could be monitored. "How can we communicate effectively if you risk being intercepted by the National Security Agency?" Mr. Diamond said.

Also named as plaintiffs in the A.C.L.U. lawsuit are the journalist Christopher Hitchens, who has written in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; Barnett R. Rubin, a scholar at New York University who works in international relations; Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at The American Prospect; the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Greenpeace, the environmental advocacy group; and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country's largest Islamic advocacy group.

The Hoover Institute is one of the oldest conservative think tanks in the US. Hitchens used to be a left-winger, but discovered the money was better on the right and has been one of the Bush administration's biggest cheerleaders. The American Prospect is a liberal not-for-profit, and you all know about Greenpeace.

This is one of those issues where I feel there ought to be real common ground between true conservatives and liberals who worry about personal freedoms. Unfortunately, true conservatives have been drowned out by their scaredy-cat brethren who are trying to make al Qaeda look like an amalgamation of Hitler, Stalin and AIDS all rolled into one.

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