Monday, December 19, 2005

Spying on citizens

I cannot understand how it can be countenanced that Bush is simply going to continue listening in on whoever he wants to without a court order.

What do I mean when I say that “I cannot understand?”

I mean it makes me really, really angry. How angry? Well, here’s RudePundit’s take on last Saturday’s radio address, and it pretty much says it all as far as I’m concerned.

And what do I mean when I say that it “can be countenanced?”

I mean that if being a citizen is something that one takes seriously, then defiant lawbreaking on the part of a president cannot be allowed to pass without action, and if no action is forthcoming from our representatives, then a citizen just has to take action her/himself.


Blogger Jim H said...

Rick, you beat me to the subject matter of Bush's issuing an executive order exempting the NSA from the Fourth Amendment. This should be food for some debate. Too bad we don't have any rabid Bush supporters here.

Impeachment material? Nah. As I heard in an offline email exchange with truejim, John Yoo may well have provided the legal opinion providing cover for this act; even if he didn't, some other lawyer lackey did. By acting on the advice of counsel, Bush has insulated himself from accusations of high crimes and misdemeanors. But here's what I want to know.

Bush is quoted as having said the following in today's press conference (I can't stand to listen to the guy so I have to rely on press reports):

"There's a process that goes on inside the Justice Department about leaks. I presume that process is moving forward," Bush said. "My personal opinion is it was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war."

If it's a time of war, and if the spying is crucial to the defense of the United States, and if it was top secret, then didn't the disclosure give aid and comfort to enemies of the United States? Wasn't its disclosure necessarily an act of treason? Shouldn't the leakers be prosecuted for treason? (Assuming the government could satisfy the two witness requirement of the Constitution--and further assuming that the President doesn't have the power in time of war to issue an executive order suspending that provision as well. Hey, Yoo is probably working on that opinion right now!) And then, after being convicted, shouldn't the leakers be executed? Isn't the foregoing required to fight terrorism?

December 19, 2005 10:11 AM  
Blogger Richard Wolfe said...

I refuse to believe that the Fourth Amendment can be suspended simply by having a lawyer issue an opinion that it does not apply, especially in view of his explicit statement on Saturday that he is going to keep on spying on us. If he wasn't guilty because he relied in good faith on legal advice that turned out to be wrong, then he must be guilty now that he is going to go right on breaking the law.

As for executing these "traitors" (but not the ones who betrayed Plame), I again defer to RudePundit. In his choice of a title for his post just previous to the haiku, he was again right on the mark (didn't read the whole post and won't burden you with it -- I have my standards):
"Do We Have To Wait Until Bush Purges 20 Million of Us Before We Can Say He's Like Stalin?"

December 19, 2005 11:02 AM  
Blogger Jim H said...

As far as high crimes and misdemeanors, the situation has not changed by making the program public. The top-secret legal opinion has not been held incorrect by a court. In addition, remember that the administration did notify selected members of Congress as well as the Chief Judge of the special court that reviews requests for eavesdropping warrants in this area. Finally, the administration also relies on the Congressional authorization to use military force against terrorists. That last one is pretty much a joke, I know. But the other excuses will provide sufficient cover on the criminal and impeachment fronts.


That doesn't mean that the practice won't ultimately be ruled unconstitutional. But the Fourth Amendment has warrant exceptions, and it's not a slam dunk. And of course, even if it is ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, that doesn't mean it was right.

December 19, 2005 11:28 AM  
Blogger Richard Wolfe said...

Thanks, I think that is a good, clear statement, one that is helpful to my understanding of the situation. Perhaps I won't put on my backpack, say goodbye to the dogs, and start walking south on US-1. At least not today.

December 19, 2005 11:33 AM  
Blogger Richard Wolfe said...

The Loyal Citizen's Contract With Amerika

Rude Pundit (yes, I agree with the guy -- yes, I know he's outrageous -- and yes, this IS, in my opinion, one of our last chances to speak out) has written a piece with NO BLUE LANGUAGE that I thought I would impose on you:

December 21, 2005 7:54 AM  
Blogger Richard Wolfe said...

... and JIM H has authorized me to post the following comment, in which he appends a clause to the Rude Pundit's contract:

"[T]he undersigned agrees that the person or persons who leaked the information about the warrantless eavesdropping should be prosecuted for treason and upon conviction, executed--preferably by public hanging."

As Jim says, "Gotta discourage those shameful acts."

December 21, 2005 7:57 AM  
Blogger paulsundquist said...

When the dust settles and the public learns who has been spied upon W's real legacy will emerge.

February 14, 2006 7:30 AM  

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