< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: President Acknowledges Approving Secretive Eavesdropping

Saturday, December 17, 2005

President Acknowledges Approving Secretive Eavesdropping

This story is somewhat old now, but worth talking about on this blog. Here is a portion of an article from the Washington Post:

President Bush said today that he secretly ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans with suspected ties to terrorists because it was "critical to saving American lives" and "consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution."
Bush said the program has been reviewed regularly by the nation's top legal authorities and targets only those people with "a clear link to these terrorist networks." Noting the failures to detect hijackers already in the country before the strikes on New York and Washington, Bush said the NSA's domestic spying since then has helped thwart other attacks.

While the President says this was only used to prevent terrorist attacks, the problem is that this leaves the possibility open for abuse of extended power by the executive branch and we can never be sure the NSA isn't just spying on anyone they want to. If nobody abused the power they are given, no checks would be necessary, but since humans are rarely perfect we need a system of check and balances, and in my view the Executive branch is currently overreaching. As Senator Russ Feingold said, "The president believes that he has the power to override the laws that Congress has passed...He is a president, not a king." A clear example of an authority abusing its secret powers is the recent revelation of the Pentagon spying on peace groups. Please post any comments below.

Click here to read the full article.

Here are some more articles/op-eds on the subject:

On Hill, Anger and Calls for Hearings Greet News of Stateside Surveillance

At the Times, a Scoop Deferred

Official: Bush authorized spying multiple times

--Tom Hayes


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