The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Legalize it! Spying, I mean. Not pot.

Senior Justice Department and intelligence officials urged Congress yesterday to approve new laws to accommodate the government's controversial warrantless eavesdropping program.

Arguing that the 1978 law governing surveillance of terrorists is out of step with current technology, the officials, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said they previously had not sought new legislation to avoid disclosing a key part of the operation. That is the ability to intercept foreign phone calls and e-mails no matter what their destination as they pass through telecommunications facilities inside the United States, said Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency.

The FISA laws were enacted because of Richard Nixon's abuse of executive power-- they don't have anything to do with 'technology' issues, and even permit warrantless spying for two weeks while a warrant is sought. The FISA court has rejected maybe one or two percent of requests for warrants. But it's the same rationale Bush offered in arguing why he shouldn't have to obey the laws. Speaking in his most condescending tone, he pointed out that the laws were enacted in the (gasp!) seventies. But now it's 2006! You'd have to be a real chump to think that such ancient history could apply to today's society.