Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

NSA: Now Spying on Americans

An article in USA Today this morning is reigniting the smoldering debate over the Bush administration's extensive (and outrageous) domestic surveillance programs:
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

AT&T's Real LogoThe NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime.

"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added.

For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.
(Image courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation)

September 11th has, is, and continues to be used as an excuse to launch massive spying programs - not on terrorists or enemies abroad, but on us - American citizens. The Bush administration's abuse of power is unacceptable and intolerable.

In an attempt to respond to the newly ignited uproar, Dubya today declared:
The government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval. We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans.
Uh huh. So we should just shut up and "trust the President" like Dave Reichert does? Hell no. We know where this is going. Hunter of Daily Kos asks:
Am I right in assuming that, if we looked, we could find administration officials and right-wing pundits vowing up and down at each stage that the next stage was a complete impossibility, a mere fabrication of paranoid minds?

And what will be the next revelation that we're told, by the exact same government sources and partisan hacks that assured us none of what we now know to be happening was happening?
Wingnuts may defend Dubya, but Congress has increasingly had enough. Congressional Democrats are outraged and demanding answers, while Republicans are skittish and busy attempting to distance themselves from the administration.

The NSA, as Rep. Ed Markey put it, stands today for Now Spying on Americans. It's an outrage, but it's true.

The public needs to know that while Democrats remain in the minority, there will be no investigations, no hearings, no oversight, and no accountability in the wake of relevations like this. It is imperative that we take back Congress and start putting an end to these assaults on our civil liberties.

If you'd like to demand answers from your phone company about the illegal giveaway of your private records, here are links to do so:

AT&T | Verizon | BellSouth

UPDATE: The Northwest's own mcjoan, who for many months now has been a front page contributor to Daily Kos, is in this morning's P-I article about the blogosphere's reaction to the latest NSA relevation:
Wrote mcjoan on the popular liberal blog Daily Kos:

"Does anybody really believe that they are just tracking all of our phone calls for the hell of it, and not listening to them? Tell me another one."
That's a nice quote, too.

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