That loud thud you heard Saturday was the other shoe falling in Washington when President Bush went on live television and admitted he had the National Security Agency spy on US citizens. He hid behind the cloak of the 9/11 attacks to justify his actions in issuing the order.
“The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after September the 11th helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities. The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time. And the activities conducted under this authorization have helped detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad.”
The Bush administration also said that not only did Congress allow the President to issue such an order in the blank check resolution they gave him in October 2001, but that Congressional leaders, GOP and Democrats, had been briefed on the spying on several occasions.
The NY Times wrote this on Sunday:
“The disclosure of the security agency’s warrantless eavesdropping on calls between the United States and Afghanistan sheds light on the origins of the agency’s larger surveillance activities, which officials say have included monitoring the communications of as many as 500 Americans and other people inside the United States without search warrants at any one time. Several current and former officials have said that they believe the security agency operation began virtually on the fly in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks.”
As any fisherman will tell you, when one tosses out a net sometimes you get other things beside fish. That is the Bush operation in a nutshell. It assumes we are guilty till proved innocent and their fishing operations have had limited success. Fewer than a couple dozen people arrested in the US for suspected terrorism activities since 2001 have been terrorists.
In a Washington Post article in June 2005 found:
Among all the people charged as a result of terrorism probes in the three years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, The Post found no demonstrated connection to terrorism or terrorist groups for 180 of them.
Just one in nine individuals on the list had an alleged connection to the al Qaeda terrorist network and only 14 people convicted of terrorism-related crimes — including Faris and convicted Sept. 11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui — have clear links to the group. Many more cases involve Colombian drug cartels, supporters of the Palestinian cause, Rwandan war criminals or others with no apparent ties to al Qaeda or its leader, Osama bin Laden.
But a large number of people appear to have been swept into U.S. counterterrorism investigations by chance — through anonymous tips, suspicious circumstances or bad luck — and have remained classified as terrorism defendants years after being cleared of connections to extremist groups.
For example, the prosecution of 20 men, most of them Iraqis, in a Pennsylvania truck-licensing scam accounts for about 10 percent of individuals convicted — even though the entire group was publicly absolved of ties to terrorism in 2001.
Bush’s actions may also conflict with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (1978) that requires court orders before spying on anyone can be started. That act was made law after the widespread surveillance done on protest groups and others in the 1970’s by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies and the abuse those agencies were found to have done.
A basic civil right is that search and seizure requires a warrant from a court. It is a check against an abuse of Federal power against people. President Bush seems to be abusing his authority.
Now I fully expect to see, later Sunday morning, the usual administration talking heads trying to spin Bush’s actions and try to turn it around and make it look like those for civil rights are in league with terrorists. Watch the morning shows and you will see it and hear it.
Then there is this bit from his “speech”:
“The activities I authorized are reviewed approximately every 45 days. Each review is based on a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland. During each assessment, previous activities under the authorization are reviewed. The review includes approval by our nation’s top legal officials, including the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President. I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.”
He is asking us to trust him and his appointed officials to operate in a correct manner. This is the same guy that just days ago admitted he tried to sell the war in Iraq based on bogus intelligent info, that we aren’t holding suspects in secret prisons in other countries where torture is not a big deal, and Iraq is getting better everyday. I find it hard to see President Bush and “trust” in the same room not alone in the same sentence.
According to the NY Times:
“In the early years of the operation, there were few, if any, controls placed on the activity by anyone outside the security agency, officials say. It was not until 2004, when several officials raised concerns about its legality, that the Justice Department conducted its first audit of the operation. Security agency officials had been given the power to select the people they would single out for eavesdropping inside the United States without getting approval for each case from the White House or the Justice Department, the officials said.”
And this is what happens, and we told you so, when Congress signed away their oversight on the “war” on terrorism in October 2001.
Congressional leaders, Democrat and Republican, have some serious explaining to do as to why they let the spying continue as long as did and it seems it still is. Their shock and indignation seem very hollow indeed.
3 Replies to “King George spies on loyal subjects just in case….”
There's been a story that the NSA was sending thousands of tips to the FBI to check out each month. Over four years that's a lot of people.Yep, it's an illegal fishing expedition.
so, the only terrorist organization we need to worry about is al qaeda?
Probably not. There are many groups who don't like the US and are willing to do great harm. Even those who are based in the US and US citizens. That still doesn't give a government a pass in having to get a warrant before spying on a suspect(s).What President Bush is doing is standing outside your door and waiting for you to say something dangerous then taking action. That doesn't keep people safe.
Comments are closed.