United Stasi Of America.

I haven't commented on the arrest of three men in Queens in connection with an alleged terrorist plot to attack the nation's transit systems because it's not clear to me what's going on. The three men, Najibullah Zazi, his father Mohammed Wali Zazi, and Queens Imam Ahmad Wais Afzali have only been charged with lying to investigators--according to the Washington Post, more serious charges are likely to follow.

There has been speculation that part of the reason for the light charges so far is that the FBI and NYPD acted too soon. Andy McCarthy's solution to this problem isn't better coordination between local law enforcement and the Feds; it's a domestic spying agency:

I hope this isn't what happened, but, sad to say, I would not be surprised if it did. And if it did, expect a renewed debate over whether we need a British style MI-5 because, critics have long contended, our law-enforcement agencies are not competent to do effective spying.

Of course, in an ideal world, McCarthy's "MI-5" wouldn't be burdened by restrictions on the "usual FBI protocols that the left insists are just as reliable in a ticking-bomb situation as the CIA's coercive methods." Afzali, you see, had been previously interviewed by the NYPD--he then allegedly alerted Najibullah Zazi to the fact that the police were on to them, possibly blowing the case the FBI was building. In McCarthy's dream world, a domestic spying agency with the ability to torture suspects in interrogations would have made this all gravy--not to mention unprosecutable, except maybe in Iran.

Americans don't like the idea of a domestic spying agency, and for good reason--they're an open invitation to government abuse of power. The CIA is technically barred from operating domestically, but several times in its history it has turned inward and spied on Americans, including political dissidents. Why conservatives like McCarthy would advocate for something as blatantly fascist as a domestic spying agency with torture powers while Obama the dictator is in office is beyond me.

But let's just reiterate really quickly: a government-run public insurance option: fascism. Andy McCarthy's "domestic spying agency": not fascism.

-- A. Serwer

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