Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges

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Mr. President, I'm not convinced

Several senior administration officials have ventured into the various media outlets recently to defend the President's domestic spying program. Their main points seem to be a) Congress gave the President authority to do this and b) we need to do it because getting warrants is too slow.

They seem to think that by repeating these lies over and over that they will get me, and others, to believe them.

There's no way I can interpret Congresses authorization for the President to use force to pursue terrorists that includes authorization for surveillance without oversight of American citizens. While intelligence gathering is a tool used by the military it is not one that any reasonable person would call "force." Given that no member of Congress has stepped up to say they understood the authorization to include such an interpretation and several have said otherwise, including those of the President's party, this argument falls flat.

The standing process for beginning surveillance before Bush authorized warrantless surveillance included a provision for emergency wiretaps. The government could (and still can) start surveillance on anyone, anytime, anywhere and then get a warrant retroactively up to three days later. So the "too slow and cumbersome" argument has no merit whatsoever.

In my estimation, Mr. Bush should make a statement that warrantless spying will stop immediately, that all surveillance undertaken by the program will be reviewed by the court for legitimacy and any future surveillance will be undertaken only under the auspices of the appropriate laws.

Of course, I don't expect any of this to actually happen.
Tags: politics, war

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