The Ministry of Shadows

Last Five Entries

Gone, But Not Forgotten?
Friday, Jan. 20, 2012

What The Internet Will Look Like Under SOPA
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012

Fearsgiving Week
Monday, Nov. 21, 2011

Jesus Approves of Waterboarding
Monday, Nov. 14, 2011

Beware of Asteroids
Wednesday, Nov. 09, 2011


FirstGov Portal

Legislative Database

Recommended Reading


Bruce Schneier

James Hudnall

Glenn Greenwald


You Are Dumb

All links are current as of the date of publication. All content created by the author is copyrighted 2005-2010, except where held by the owners/publishers of parent works and/or subject materials. Any infringement of another's work is wholly unintentional. If you see something here that is yours, a polite request for removal or credit will be honored.

Qui Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005 12:44 AM

In his weekly address, President Bush acknowledged that he had given his approval for the NSA to conduct warrantless wiretaps, lauding the measure as, "... a vital tool in our war against the terrorists."

Such wiretaps are permissible if reviewed by a court under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In fact, FISA allows for the Attorney General to authorize emergency surveillance without a warrant, provided the application follows within 48 hours.

Bush's authorization ignored the checks and balances designed to circumvent abuse; he believes his actions fall within his constitutional responsibility and authority.

The revelation of such domestic intelligence operations, in turn, affected the vote on the renewal of the USA-PATRIOT Act, falling short of the 60 votes needed for approval. Concern over civil liberties has been the centerpiece of the debate, while President Bush insists that, "In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment."

But do not be fooled into thinking this issue suddenly burst onto the public scene. The New York Times, in breaking the story, also affirmed that they've known about this since last year, but held off publication both at the request of the White House and to inquire further into the facts.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales responded with one of the current Bush Administration mantras, "... we will be aggressive in obtaining that information, but we will always do so in a manner that's consistent with our legal obligations."

Except Mr. Bush clearly and repeatedly broke the law, and must be held accountable to a standard other than his interpretation of presidential authority.

The President also denounced the source of the report: a leak. "Our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country."

First, if our enemies have been thinking we haven't been monitoring their communications, they're idiots. And, if anyone in the Bush Administration honestly thinks the enemy will openly discuss confidential plans because they don't know they're being spied upon, they're idiots. Incidentally, FISA prohibits disclosure of the content of such surveillance, not the execution of same.

The only way these wiretaps damage our national security is by undermining the public's faith in its protections under law, to which the President and those acting under his authorization must be accountable.

As for putting our citizens at risk, I believe that when the government willfully ignores the law and derides concerns about civil liberties, they are perpetrating a far more insidious and grave injury than any terrorist plot.

Finally, if revealing classified information is illegal, it's long past the time to be honest about who leaked Valerie Plame's identity. Karl? Scooter? Bueller? Anybody?

The Ministry has received 0 comment(s) on this topic.