“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Eph 5:6
The President was on television again today telling half the story about the wiretap bill that the house refused to pass.
Here’s the rest of the story.
This is all about extending the President’s power to wiretap US citizens without court approval. The President says that this is only about looking for terrorists, but the whistleblowers which brought this who issue to the public’s attention have testified that the equipment installed by the government at the phone companies allows the government to listen to all traffic that goes through the Internet.
There is a law on the books which gives the President the ability to request spying on US citizens, but requires court approval. The spy activity can begin before the approval is obtained, but the agency doing the spying must send a letter to the supervising court letting them know that they have begun the activity and will be seeking approval. The FBI has already admitted that it so fumbled this process that it lost track of how many requests it had made, and as a result could not confirm that it was in compliance. In other words they have already proven that they can’t be trusted to follow the legal process.
The last shoe to drop in this whole process is immunity for the Telco’s which cooperated. They knew that this was against the law, and are seeking immunity for breaking the law at the government’s request. By the way, they didn’t all cooperate. Qwest refused and lost some government contracts as a result. The President had the gall to suggest that Congress had to provide immunity to make sure that these companies would cooperate in the future. We don’t want them cooperating if it involves breaking the law. We want these companies to be held liable, and as a result to hold the government liable to prove that all requests are compliant with the law. Otherwise this all comes down to the big lie that this government has been telling for the past seven years. Trust me. I can’t tell you what I’m doing, but I’m doing it to protect you from terrorists.
Democracy requires transparency. Democracy requires that no one is above the law. Democracy requires accountability.
Without those things we have what we’ve been living through the past seven years. Invasions based on “cooked” intelligence. The VP insisting that Saddam was connected to al Qaeda when even the President was admitting that this was false. Billions of dollars funneled to administration-connected companies. Our President telling the world that we don’t torture only to later discover that his definition of torture didn’t include waterboarding. Our Secretary of State telling the world that we didn’t have a secret interrogation process only later to admit that renditions continue to be a standard practice. US Citizens imprisoned without access to lawyers or the ability to defend themselves against their accusers. Widespread violations of human rights. Widespread domestic spying. The wounded and dead snuck back into this country under the cover of darkness. The rich getting richer and the poor and middle class getting poorer.
Trust me. I can’t tell you what I’m doing, but I’m doing it to protect you from terrorists.