Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Domestic Surveillance

- Many of the arguments by the Bush administration about the legality of domestic surveillance talk about how important it is - why it is necessary. This has NOTHING to do with whether it is legal.
- Many of the arguments justify these surveillance based on the fact that the president has extra powers because we are at war. Are we? Will it ever end? How will we know?
- We need to stop thinking about whether Bush is doing something acceptable. Bush is defining broad powers that will apply to ALL FUTURE PRESIDENTS.
- The administration says they had to do this because the FISA court would not have issued these warrants, and Congress would not have chnaged the law. So that makes circumventing the two of them legal??

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Domestic Surveillance

Domestic surveillance defended - Hardball with Chris Matthews -
Domestic surveillance defended
Sen. George Allen backs Administration's secret use of wiretaps

Here's a letter I sent to Hardball:

Regarding your stories about Bush's authorization of surveillance on American citizens - and the support by Bush's supporters for his legal right to do so - you need to discuss the fact they are not just saying that they trust BUSH to do this - but that they trust ALL FUTURE PRESIDENTS to do this - to do WHATEVER they think is necessary - even if NOT explicitly authorized to do so. So this comes down ENTIRELY to Cheney's assertion that Presidential authority is essentially unlimited.

On the other hand - Andrea Mitchell asked Senator Allen "how do we know what's been done?" - well, how do we know what's been done when something is authorized by the the FISA court? Aren't those records secret? So we don't know what's been done there either. In theory, there is at least judicial oversite - but an authorization rate of 99.9% doesn't provide a lot of reassurance. Is the resignation by the one FISA judge, and concerns by some of the others, an objection to the President's action - or just a concern about the reduction of judicial authority?