Raising Questions about Unauthorized NSA Spying

Update 21 Jan 2006: Al Gore has given an absolutely fabulous speech criticizing the president and his administration for expanding the role of the executive branch at the expense of the other two branches, threatening the checks and balances form of government that makes America so unusual in the world. The full text of the speech is available at the American Constitution Society for Law and Society blog. I think it is one of the best speeches I have heard in a while. It certainly captures the essence of the threat to our way of life! I urge you to read it and invite you to share your thoughts with me about the issues it raises.

Original Post: I have been reading about Dick Cheney’s defense of the so-called “domestic eavesdropping program” (as characterized by CNN). The article calls the “eavesdropping” “critical to U.S. security” and refers to critics of illegal spying as “yielding to the temptation to downplay the ongoing threat to our country”. The full text of the article was at http://www.cnn.com. [Following the link will only get you current events!]

The thing that bothers me about this kind of argument is the assertion that opposing illegal activities is in any way related to downplaying the threat of terrorism. To me, this kind of rhetoric is a diversion to avoid explaining why they felt it necessary to break the law to do this spying. They have gotten practically everything else they asked for, using 9/11 as the justification, why not this as well?

I was very pleased to hear the general reaction to the news (at this point a majority are being polled as opposed to domestic spying), particularly the announcement that Senator Specter will hold hearings to discover why this policy exists (when existing laws would have provided a means for them to carry out their actions without breaking the law). It seems more like arrogance and abuse of power than patriotism and I hope they aren’t allowed to “get away with it” (whatever that means these days).

[moved from Blogger on 24 Oct 2010]

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