Saturday, December 17, 2005

Don't Spy On Me . . .

Remember the good old days when the only thing we had to fear, was fear itself? Well, it appears our President is so damned scared that he’s shredding our constitutional rights to pieces for no reason. Today, President Bush admitted to authorizing a secret eavesdropping program in the U.S. that operates without court warrants.

President Bush says, "Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies.” Arguing whether or not this is true is completely pointless.

  1. It’s true. Eavesdropping on suspected terrorists could, and possibly may have prevented terrorist attacks.
  2. It’s been this way before 9/11, and there was no need to begin operating without court warrants. The ability eavesdrop had nothing to do with preventing 9/11. Remember, two of the hijackers were listed in a San Diego phone book.
  3. There was a process established to eavesdrop on American citizens, and it required getting a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. In its entire existence, since 1978, the FISA court has only twice (once in 1980 and once in 1997) refused a government request for electronic surveillance authority. The court’s goal is not to serve as a barrier, but rather, a check and balance.
  4. Eavesdropping can begin prior to obtaining the warrant from the FISA court. This provision allows for emergency situations that can’t wait for the court to meet and grant the warrant. When this occurs, the warrant eventually sought from the FISA court would be to “continue” eavesdropping in an on-going investigation.

This news should not surprise anybody. I always say there’s a little truth behind all humor, and after all, this is the President who has jokingly said, “It would be easier if I was dictator" and, "There ought to be limits to freedom."

I’m not scared like the President . . . I’m scared of the President


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