Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bush's departure doesn't mean automatic restoration of civil liberties

Last week, the ACLU issued a response to a secret court's assertion that the American people could be spied on without properly authorized warrants:
The Court of Review was wrong to hold that the warrant requirement doesn't apply in foreign intelligence investigations. When the government monitors Americans' phone calls and emails, it should have to justify its actions to a court, and it should have to do so on a case-by-case basis. The government should not be able to nullify Fourth Amendment rights simply by invoking national security. The Court of Review was correct, though, to find that probable cause is a key constitutional requirement.
As early as Novemeber, Wired quoted Seymour Hersh saying, ""You cannot believe how many people have told me to call them on January 20. [They say,] 'You wanna know about abuses and violations? Call me then.'"

...and of course, now we learn just how wide they cast their net:
He [a whistleblower] said he was told to monitor certain groups in order to eliminate them as suspects for more intense targeting. Those groups, he said, were U.S. journalists and news agencies. But rather than excluding the news organizations from monitoring, he discovered that the NSA was collecting the organizations' communications 24 hours a day year round.
Remember when Dubya reportedly said it's just a piece of paper? Well, this is part of the piece of paper he was talking about:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I wonder if Bush remembers this. I seem to also remember that guy claiming "They hate our freedoms." It shouldn't be too surprising though.

Doublespeak was par for the course for that administration - let's hope it doesn't get its grubby hands on the new one.


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