Bush Wild About Wiretapping

For a couple of hours on Tuesday, top Justice and intelligence officials tried to convince the Senate Intelligence Committee to support a secret eavesdropping bill submitted by President Bush. The legislation would pretty much gut the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is the U.S. law of surveillance guidelines for the intelligence community.

Bush WiretappingIn a rare case of better-late-than-never spinal cord regeneration, members of the Senate committee told the Justice Department it had to pony up information about the domestic spying that’s already in progress before they can even hope to get more power to spy on Americans without a warrant.

Illegal Wiretapping

Up until last January, for over five years, President Bush unconstitutionally and criminally authorized the government to spy on phone calls and e-mails to and from the United States without warrants. After this came to light, Bush didn’t go to jail, but in January the administration did agree to ask for court-approved warrants before wiretapping the phone of any U.S. citizen.

But forget that now. In Tuesday’s hearing, Michael McConnell, the directory of national intelligence, said that he couldn’t promise that President Bush would seek a warrant before listening in on Americans. The whole episode is akin to Charles Manson telling his parole board he can’t promise that he won’t carve up some more actresses with steak knives, and the laws against murder should be expanded to allow him to do this just in case he needs to.

McConnell even tried to use the magic boogieman word: he said that FISA needs to be modernized because of significant threats from “al-Qaeda.”

More Eavesdropping Won’t Win War on Terror

The truth is that the government doesn’t need to gut FISA to combat al-Qaeda.

Just last year, a secret FISA court approved 2,176 warrants for eavesdropping on people in the United States. The same court only denied one request. So, unless Bush wants to listen to somebody he’s not supposed to listen to, what’s the problem?

In the war against terror, the big problem is not surveillance. The problem is not gathering information. The FBI and the CIA already have more information than they can process. I mean, when you have two 9/11 hijackers fresh from an al-Qaeda conference, sharing a kitchen with the best FBI informant in San Diego, and you still can’t connect the dots — believe me, monitoring the telephone calls and emails of more Americans isn’t going to give you a clue. Wiretapping doesn’t cure incompetence.

Besides, the government seems to already have enough intelligence agents aiding and abetting al-Qaeda to keep them under tabs without law-abiding Americans sacrificing any more of their Constitutional rights.

In addition, the NSA already has ECHELON…

ECHELON Global Surveillance Network

ECHELON radomes at Menwith Hill

ECHELON is a worldwide electronic surveillance network that captures all kinds of electronic data streams — radio, satellite, telephone calls, faxes, and e-mails. According to a year 2000 BBC article about ECHELON:

The Echelon spy system, whose existence has only recently been acknowledged by US officials, is capable of hoovering up millions of phone calls, faxes and emails a minute.

Echelon evolved out of Cold War espionage arrangements set up by the US and UK in 1948, and later bringing in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, in their capacity as Britain’s Commonwealth partners.

The biggest of Echelon’s global network of listening posts is at Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, where about 30 “giant golf balls” called radomes litter the landscape. The system also boasts 120 American satellites in geostationary orbit.

Bases in the five countries are linked directly to the headquarters of the secretive US National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Mead, Maryland.

The system’s superpowerful voice recognition capability enables it to filter billions of international communications for whatever key words or word patterns are programmed in.

As you can see, the Bush administration’s agenda is not to struggle with citizens over their right to privacy. Americans quietly lost that battle a long time ago.

No, the Bush administration’s agenda may only amount to informing Americans about what they’ve already lost. Bush probably wants to break the news as gently as possible to avoid a full-scale revolt. Most politicians aren’t fond of tar and feathers.

[tags]Bush, FISA, wiretapping, eavesdropping, surveillance, spying, ECHELON, privacy, terrorism[/tags]

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9 Responses to Bush Wild About Wiretapping

  1. JoeC says:

    Jefferson and Franklin warned us we’d have a hard time hanging on to freedom. It’s like they knew for a fact that another royal-assed George was bound to come around and muck it up.

  2. Xman says:

    “Today on “Jaywalking”, we’re talking with Eric.
    Jay: Eric, tell me, what is more inportant to you, freedom or liberty?
    Eric: Freedom, Jay. If you are a thinking, patriotic American, you should be willing to give up a little liberty to ensure our freedoms.
    Jay: Well, isn’t freedom the same thing as liberty?
    Eric: There you go again, Jay. You liberals are always trying to have it both ways!

  3. JoeC says:

    Well said, Pelmo!

  4. pelmo says:

    Poor Eric is one of the idiots, that still believes in the “boogy man” and wants to be protected from him, no matter the cost.

    As for me, they tried to scare me with the atom bomb, when that ran the course, it was all those commies that were taking over the world, and our shores were next. Now it’s the terrorists. That terror card has been played to many times for me to fall for it.

    Tell me Eric how many big arrests have there been made since the patriot act went into affect. None to be exact. So I am not giving up my rights to the Keystone cops.

  5. JoeC says:

    >Are you seriously that stupid…or just ignorant.

    I think most of America is ignorant of what’s been going on, which is why I’m helping spread the word…

    >you give Clinton a pass for ignoring obvious signs in his face of terrorist attacks

    9/11 was over half a year into the Bush administration. Katrina was well into it. I think America knows who the common denominator in U.S. Disasters is…

  6. Eric says:

    Are all of you so naive that you actually think this has not been going on for decades? Are you seriously that stupid…or just ignorant.

    I find it hysterical that so many of you want to bash Bush over wiretapping and eavesdropping, yet you give Clinton a pass for ignoring obvious signs in his face of terrorist attacks. And, you are the exact same idiots that will whine about the government NOT protecting you ENOUGH.

    You can’t have it both ways…if you want protection, you have to give up some privacy rights. Liberals are the most hypocritical people in the world…they bitch and whine about privacy rights, then when a terrorist bombs the WTC’s they bitch and whine about the gov’t not collecting enough information.

  7. pelmo says:

    The Renaissance can’t start until the pendelum starts to swing in the direction of sanity and reason.
    As of right now I fear that it is gaining momentum in it’s swing to the other side.

    You printed one word that summed it all up “INCOMPETENCE”.

  8. JoeC says:

    And the Dark Ages, too. Heck, isn’t it about time for the Renaissance yet?

  9. Lynne says:

    Welcome to the New World Order.

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