Friday, December 16, 2005

Bush loses; us, too?

It's a bloody Christmas miracle for those of us who treasure our civil liberties, with a bitter backsplash from the morning news.

On one hand, the Senate, with both Republicans and Democrats on board, blocked renewal of the extension of the Patriot (sic) Act. Think this act of gutsy-ness has anything to do with the snowballing Bush free-fall? At the very least, let's hope it has something to do with our outrage over the US's acts of torture that Condi Rice has traipsed the world, trying to smooth over.

Backsplash. Perhaps it also has something to do with today's news that Bush issued an order allowing the National Security Agency to spy on all of US without a court order. According to the NYTimes, the NSA is primarily an international spy agency. The administration defended itself by saying that this has helped prevent terror attacks, and listed one specific incident. Condi defends Bush by saying that Bush has acted "with a healthy respect for the civil liberties that are at the core of the law."Up to 400 Americans are being spied upon at a time. Without court approval. Mmm. Respectful.

Making this harder to swallow, the Times cops to the fact that they delayed, at the request of the Bush Administration, publishing this news for one year while they continued to report and examine the story. Sheesh, how nice of them. Have we discussed the right-wing media conspiracy lately? I can't depend on my government to safeguard my civil liberties, nor can I depend on the media to alert me to my government not safeguarding my civil liberties.

There are so many different intelligence agencies in our government. I find it hard to keep track of them all. NSA is one that we rarely hear about. The Times says it is the biggest one, though. It's job is to spy on foreign folks. The drill it is supposed to follow to spy foreign folks is to go before a special court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court aka the secret court. Never heard of them. Neither have you?

It's a special court, 11 members, appointed by the Chief Justice. 7 of them are Federal District Court Judges, the rest have to live near DC. Senator Rockefeller is currently one of those judges. The reason it is considered a "secret" court? It's proceedings are not a matter of public record.

So, NSA's job is to spy on foreign folks (or to procure foreign intelligence, if you'd like me to sound intelligent) after getting an ok from the secret court whose goings-on we can know nothing about. Sounds bad enough. Instead, NSA is spying on Americans without even the approval of the secret court.

Did I mention that the secret court has reviewed over 10,000 requests for spying and turned down only a handful? And that the court has virtually no congressional oversight? Yet the Bush administration felt the need to avoid it? Bush once again circumvented the law. Avoid. Evade. And make nice when you get caught through lying and skating the truth.

Sounds like more grounds for impeachment, my friends.

Until tomorrow,


Anonymous Kirsty said...

10,000! Sheesh, that's bloody scary.

7:52 PM  

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