The left is really angry at the GOP. Not for the usual reasons mind you.
After years of toiling against the surveillance state, sounding alarms about privacy and warning of Orwellian law enforcement overreach, civil libertarians now find their talking points have been hijacked.
Suddenly, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes — a longtime advocate for the nation’s intelligence agencies and their eavesdropping authority — has started talking like a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union.
The same Republican congressman from Tulare who only weeks ago led the drive to extend for years the government’s vast electronic surveillance powers is railing about an FBI run amok and an anti-democratic “deep state” creepily monitoring political enemies.
The Los Angeles Times reports that after clamoring for a national reckoning on surveillance overreach, privacy advocates are dismayed that the debate finally is taking place on grounds thoroughly muddied by politics. They have an uninvited frontman, Nunes, who shares virtually none of their values and, they believe, has co-opted their cause for political convenience. And the coalitions they painstakingly built are fraying as a result.
The California Democratic Party stepped up to defend the FBI against what it called Nunes’ “open declaration of war.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) warned in a floor speech that Nunes was out to “degrade and discredit” the FBI. A petition from the liberal group Credo Action, which had amassed 141,000 signatures as of Tuesday, lauded the bureau. Just recently, the same group had pilloried the agency in a petition accusing it of rampant abuse of its surveillance authority.
The truth is, politics is what’s driving the left, not their noble cause. Many are more worried about Nunes derailing the Russia investigation than about the surveillance. Criminal activity is OK with them as long as it attacks President Trump.
That’s too bad, because as Daniel Schuman, policy director of the progressive advocacy group Demand Progress told the Times, “Pretending the FBI is this man on the white horse — this paragon of virtue — is fundamentally at odds with the facts,”