Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The eye of the beholder....

Rick Moran at Right Wing Nut House continues to minimize the importance of domestic surveillance and suggests the left has become overwrought in the absence of irrefutable evidence. Under the theme, we just don't know yet:
...There is no reason to call for an investigation – yet. But I am a little more amendable to Arlen Specter’s ideas about finding out some additional details on these programs including the Senator trying to get a better idea of exactly who they are targeting.

....“Backtracking” would seem to indicate something much less intrusive and less alarming; they would already have a suspect’s phone records that showed the ABC News phone number.
Unfortunately, as Glenn Greewald points out, the White House just did an end run around judicial review of the investigation. The Hill reports Spector caved to White House pressure and agreed not to require the Bush administration seek a legal judgment on the program from a special court set up by FISA. This effectively prevents the program from being tested in the courts for the foreseeable future.

As for backtracking being less odious, Rick ignores that they used the Patriot Act provision allowing the now infamous National Security Letters to obtain the information. NSLs are rarely, if at all, challenged since they were enacted as part of an anti-terrorism package. When our journalists are considered to be terrorists by our government, we're in deep trouble. I left this comment at Rick's blog.
FBI, CIA, NSA, it's all just one big happy family under the new intelligence patriarch, John "Iran-Contra" Negroponte. Considering his role in that affair, it's only prudent to view the current revelations about domestic surveillance with some alarm. Arkin just put up a list at the WaPo of 500 datamining programs currently in use by our government. I don't care who's in office, I don't want our government abridging our privacy in this manner. In the absence of convicted criminal conduct, I don't think commercial databasers should be allowed to collect it either. The complilation of a complete dossier of every single US resident strikes me as decidely un-American. What is freedom, if not the right to live one's life without constant surveillance?

And whether the ABC revelations are real cause for concern or not, it just goes to illustrate only one of the possible abuses this database lends itself to. If you wait until the day the government sends in their health police to round up all the diabetics who eat too much sugar and puts them in "health camps" for their own good, it will be too late.

Yes Rick, we don't KNOW for sure. But I have to ask, how are we supposed to find out if this administration or some future one is up to no good? Somehow I don't think they'll have an attack of conscience and confess.
I admit I don't have the answer to that question, but I'm pretty sure it's not, let's wait and see how much farther they'll go in breaching the constitution. We may not have hard evidence -- yet -- but the circumstantial evidence that domestic survelliance is much broader than we dared dread, is becoming rather substantial. It would be folly to ignore it.
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2 Comments:

Blogger Kvatch said...

Rick Moran at Right Wing Nut House continues to minimize the importance of domestic surveillance and suggests the left has become overwrought in the absence of irrefutable evidence. Under the theme, we just don't know yet:

Well, I guess that's true, except for the fact that Bush admitted to the program...and when he got caught lying about it's scope, he admitted that...and when called on to defend it, he admitted that he'd discussed it with Congress...and evidence has come to light that's it's been used for purposes other than terrorism...

3:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

It's true, the list of things we do know are endless. Nice to see you here kvatch.

3:51:00 PM  

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