Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » January 2006 » Slippery Slopes into Un-Constitutional America...

[« But what's the penalty for violating the ban?] [Enough Can't Really Be Said... »]

01/02/2006: Slippery Slopes into Un-Constitutional America...

The WaPo is reporting this:

“…the president acknowledged concerns that monitoring overseas telephone calls and e-mails of citizens with suspected ties to terrorism may violate civil liberties. But he called his directive to the National Security Agency (NSA) after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks "vital and necessary" to protect the country…”

{Emphasis mine.}

First of all- there is no “MAY violate civil liberties” possibilities here. Either the program meets specific legal requirements under the existing Federals laws (FISA and Wiretapping cases) and the U.S. Constitution 4th amendment protections - or NOT. Either there IS a legal argument that holds Constitutional water...or NOT.

Or this defense:
” This is a limited program designed to prevent attacks on the United States of America, and I repeat limited," Bush said...

Except Newsweek is reporting “…Bush repeatedly approved of what the NSA calls a "special collection program" that eavesdropped—without warrants—on about 500 Americans a day.” {Emphasis mine.}

500 Americans a Day- that is what CIC calls* Limited*?

And claiming it's only *limited* is a smokescreen and Not a defense. It is NOT written in the Constitution that if ya only violate a few citizen's rights that makes it OK. There can be no *limited*, minor infringements of our Constitutional Rights in such a unilateral, illegal fashion by this President or any Other POTUS.

Finally, If it is “Vital and Necessary” – You Make it LEGAL and conform to the required judicial oversight required by LAW and the Constitution (and an appropriate warrant covering same for such a *search and seizure* involving US Citizens.) This is what is MISSING in this NSA program and is the illegality of the authorization from the POTUS. IF CIC had followed the judicial oversight rules as required, there is no violation.

Instead CIC is claiming no need for judicial oversight nor warrants from any court nor the FISA court as IS required. (Or in the alternative - that the Congressional authorization of military force in Afghanistan and against Al Quaeda *covered* this type *military action* of wiretapping against US Citizens - a facetious legal argument yet to be made or stand any test in any court in the US.)

IF, as CIC claims, these laws and procedures aren't just GOOD ENOUGH -What can be done is for the laws to be changed, the Constitution to be re-written. But there is a PROCESS to do so and it must be done via Congress, in the light of day, the public fully informed and with all due procedural requirements. (And sorry – it simply can’t apply retroactively to violations that already occurred.)

What is NOT allowed is for these thing to be done by Executive fiat. If the Constitution is NOT GOOD ENOUGH- as written - then be honest and rewrite IT - spelling out all these supposed SUPREME EXECUTIVE POWERS and creating this Unfettered and Unconstrained Presidency CIC suggests is *Vital & Necessary.*

And that is why I say those people that refuse to require this bAdministration and this POTUS to faithfully follow his Oath of Office to uphold the Constitution and U.S. laws - and are making excuses for this illegal wiretapping approach to National Security - are against our country and are behaving as Un-Constitutional Americans.

UPDATE: and via AmericaBlog is this NY Times Week in Review Article on American concerns over privacy and spying conducted by our government. The numbers reflect a concern that is at an all time high:
"...[A] poll conducted for Mr. Ponemon last month may show that people hold different views on commercial and government privacy issues. Conducted after The New York Times revealed the N.S.A. surveillance, it suggested great concern. Of those polled, 88 percent expressed concern, and 54 percent said they were "very concerned," he said.

"It was, 'Wow,' " Mr. Ponemon said. The 88 percent figure was more than twice the level of concern of past studies he had seen of public attitudes toward commercial privacy breaches.
The issue of government abuse of privacy in the name of security has been growing since the 9/11 attacks, said Alan F. Westin, a privacy expert and consultant who is a professor emeritus of public law and government at Columbia University. He has been tracking consumer attitudes about domestic security issues with telephone surveys since 2001, and has found a growing concern that the checks on government surveillance might be weakening.
"The essence really is a majority of the public does not believe the administration should be given a blank check," Mr. Westin said..."

Karen on 01.02.06 @ 10:46 AM CST

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