USAToday on the Bush Administration's Warrantless Surveillance Power GrabSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


USAToday on the Bush Administration's Warrantless Surveillance Power Grab

20 December 2007 at 12:10:15 PM

Most Americans surely want their government to monitor phone calls or e-mails between a suspected terrorist abroad and someone in the USA

But what the Bush administration wants is much broader. It's seeking the ability to capture phone calls and e-mails between virtually anyone abroad and anyone in the USA. With limited exceptions, there'd be no requirement for a traditional warrant, or that the eavesdropping have anything to do with terrorism. 

Get that last part? The REASON Bush has given for illegally spying on Americans is that it would help catch terrorists. Tell me how spying on people where the eavesdropping doesn't have to be shown to have ANYTHING to do with terrorism doesnt't violate the constitution!

Surveillance legislation pending in Congress is the latest twist in a long-running campaign by the Bush administration to shake off reasonable restraints on eavesdropping. Since 1978, spy agencies have been required to get warrants from a secret court if they want to intercept communications in the USA from abroad. The court almost never says no; it approved 99.8% of 8,968 applications in the past five years. When speed is essential, the court even grants warrants applied for after eavesdropping begins.

Let's remember this. This is one of the things Cornyn tried to bully people about the other day when he took the Senate floor about the surveillance-that somehow there wasn't enough time to save some soldiers that been killed. Except what he said was bunk. AND, again, if the administration wants to do emergency surveillance, they CAN-they just have to go BACK to the courts to justify it later. THAT'S what the Bush administration does NOT want to do!

Yet that's not flexible enough for the administration. Even before 9/11, the White House pressured phone companies to grant secret access to their networks. After the attacks, the administration used the telecoms to mount a secret surveillance operation that ignored the court. After that warrantless wiretapping was exposed by the press, the administration used scare tactics to bully Congress into giving it most of the authority it at first simply seized. One of the few good things about that law, enacted in August, is that it expires on Feb. 1, which gives Congress a chance to fix it.

And of course there's the argument about giving immunity to the telecom companies that HELPED Bush illegally spy on Americans.

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