Monday, May 15, 2006

Lower and lower

This administration keeps going lower and lower. Apparently, the government was wiretapping ABC News in an attempt to catch whistleblowers trying to shed light on their illegal activities.

My question about this is: was this a case of domestic wiretapping that was or was not overseen by judicial oversight? Clearly, this is not a case of "trying to catch the terrorists." This is a case of "trying not to get caught doing something illegal."

My guess is that this was not done with judicial oversight, which makes it yet another illegal wiretapping. And if it was done with judicial oversight, then clearly, the "secret court of review" isn't a very good system. This should not have been allowed.

These whistleblowers are risking a lot for our freedoms. The information that has been "leaked" has far more value to the American populace - i.e., knowing exactly what relationship you have with your government, and knowing that your constitutional freedoms and civil liberties are being shamefully eroded - than it would to hypothetical terrorists plotting on domestic soil (who, even if you assume the FBI can actually discover who they are, probably aren't dumb enough to just call each other up and talk about their plots).

To discover that American news agencies are being targeted by the administration for domestic spying is very bad, because this is a direct assault on the freedom of the press. They're not trying to make a case in court to have the judge order the reporters to reveal their source based on the merits of their legal position. They're simply using their special mantle as a secret organization with access to wiretapping technology to try to stop the information from coming to light.

This is not the "only international calls to suspected terrorists" the administration claimed their domestic spying was limited to before. This is not the "only domestic calls to suspects" they claimed later when it was discovered they were also wiretapping domestic calls without warrants. And this is not the "just analyzing traffic patterns" that they claimed last week when it was revealed they were tracking everyone's phone calls, including yours, not just those of suspects. This is wiretapping specific people who have no association to terrorists with the express purpose of trying to cover their asses. This is not a responsible use of taxpayer dollars, to say the least.

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