Monday, 26 December 2005

Government Spying

Some may think me remiss for not doing my part to pile on in attacking the Bush Administration for its illegal spying on American citizens and residents without receiving proper authorization. Well, make no mistake: I strongly disapprove. I largely agree with pundits as disparate as conservative George Will and liberal Markos Moulitsas here and here, in believing that this administration overstepped its bounds, and should not expect another free pass based on another plea of "Trust us."

That said, this is not the issue that most animates me.

I did earlier point to this excellent article by Hilzoy at the Washington Monthly who credibly makes the case that this revelation more than many others out of this administration meets a very high bar which he thinks necessary before seriously discussing impeachment. I am pleased that this is a story which has given pause to conservatives and libertarians, often defenders of the President's policies, creating momentum on Capitol Hill for Congressional hearings into the President's actions.

So why is this not front and center on Choosing Hope?

Perhaps it is because I'm so public in my views, that I'm more amused than outraged that my communications could be mined for their possible threat to the national security. I had better be careful, and I should be outraged, but there are plenty of others carrying the torch on this one, and I trust that they will persevere in their relentless call for the reining in of expanded executive power.

Perhaps this is how I might be listened in on. ;-)

But if you want my words, here is part of what I wrote in response to one conservative's ambivalent reaction to this story:
All indications are that FISA is very liberal in granting warrants, and THE PROCEDURES DO NOT REQUIRE ANY DELAY IN STARTING THE SURVEILLANCE and FISA’S DELIBERATIONS REMAIN SECRET. Following the law here would not have hampered any necessary surveillance to protect our security.

The only explanations I see for Bush going around the secret security court are either that he was initiating surveillance that he knew was questionable, or that he simply wanted to extend the power of the Presidency and flout the law.

I’m all for spying on the truly bad guys to keep us safe, but we had a system that allowed the executive branch to do just without tipping our hand, while remaining accountable for its actions through an independent secret court. Judge James Robertson, assigned to the court by Justice Rehnquist has resigned in reaction to this news, expressing through friends “deep concern that the NSA surveillance program, which was personally authorized by President Bush in 2002, was legally questionable and may have tainted the court’s work.”
In spite of relentless attempts to spin this and other stories for temporary bumps in the polls, this is yet another instance of further self-inflicted erosion to the core of support this administration was once able to count on. And yeah, I'm happy about that.

1 comment:

rev. billy bob gisher ©2005 said...

privacy is an illusion. were they wrong? yes i think so, but that's me. but to get bent out of shape over an illusion? 75 years from now most secrets will be exposed and forgotten, most have bigger things they should worry about. like for starters, why they would have anything in their lives that should be a secret.