Friday, May 12, 2006

Listen - do you want to know a secret...

I'm astounded by the reaction of the remaining supporters of the Bush administration to yesterday's news that the NSA warrantless domestic surveillance encompassed the phone records of strictly domestic calls of millions of Americans. Surely, I thought, after Bush repeated insisted that only international calls were being intercepted, that only a couple of thousand calls were involved and only calls suspected of having a connection to terrorist organizations were being databased, the magnitude of the White House lies on this program will give pause to the stalwart Bush loyalists. Incredibly, even such brazen misrepresentation and wilful violation of telecom privacy laws in order to build what is being called by some "the largest database ever assembled in the world," can be excused by the Bush believers as no big deal. I guess the lesson there is never underestimate the power of cognitive dissonance.

As the NYT points out the White House would have continued to operate this vast and intrusive program without our knowledge, forever, if they hadn't been caught and one hopes our DC lawmakers read and act on this advice.
Congress must stop pretending that it has no serious responsibilities for monitoring the situation. The Senate should call back Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and ask him — this time, under oath — about the scope of the program. This time, lawmakers should not roll over when Mr. Gonzales declines to provide answers. The confirmation hearings of Michael Hayden, President Bush's nominee for Central Intelligence Agency director, are also a natural forum for a serious, thorough and pointed review of exactly what has been going on.
Really, it's well past time for our entrenched career politicians to forget the fundraising and remember their job description requires them to exercise oversight over presidental excesses that threaten to destroy over 200 years worth of checks and balances. The events of 9/11 reminded us that we can't afford to be complacent about outside threats to our national security. The ill conceived and anti-democratic policies perpetrated by this administration since 9/11 should also remind us that we need to be just as vigilant, if not more, to internal threats that would compromise, if not destroy, the freedoms so many generations of Americans fought to acquire for us in the past and in whose name our troops are dying for today.
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