Friday, April 07, 2006

Double-Plus Bad

It's April 2006. Do you know where your liberties are?

Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez is now telling Congress that he doesn't necessarily think it's illegal for the President to order warrantless wiretaps on calls that take place entirely within the United States.

Frankly, I think it's scary enough that Gonzalez, Bush, et al are okay saying that violating FISA (a law) isn't, you know, illegal. You see, they promise they have good intentions: "We're fighting terrorism!" And its even scarier that so many Congressfolk are bending over backwards to be okay with the President saying that he doesn't have to obey the law.

But this? To say that, despite FISA, despite centuries of judicial precedent, it might just be okay for the President to authorize warrantless individual wiretaps or wiretapping programs for calls that originate AND terminate inside the US, that's terrifying. That means that, theoretically, the President could issue a standing authorization for the NSA, CIA, FBI, local cops to tap your phone if they kinda maybe thought you might be up to something terroristic but you didn't have enough evidence to convince a judge to issue a warrant. That's carte blanche to eavesdrop on you at any time for any reason and then say, "Well, we thought she was a terrorist. Turns out she's just a pothead. Off to jail with her."

This is beyond scary.

And whenever Congressfolk ask questions about this, Gonzalez clams up and says, "Confidential information." I think it's time to start busting out some contempt of Congress citations. But I'd never say so on the phone.


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