Thursday, December 15, 2005

Big Brother Bush

Not to be Orwellian, but a president confident in his knowledge of all that is right and good (God), a white house that has refused to release information to a degree unprecedented, and now, according to the NY Times, the secret signature of an executive order 3 years ago to monitor telephone calls and e-mails inside the U.S. We're all familiar with the intelligence community's ability to eavesdrop on international calls and e-mails without warrant, but this is domestic.

You may say, "big whoop, the Patriot Act. What's new?" But despite the Patriot Act, without Bush's previously secret order, "the government [could] only target phones and e-mail messages in the United States by first obtaining a court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which holds its closed sessions at the Justice Department."

Why haven't we heard about it? According to the article:
The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.
The Washington Post picked up the NY Times story, elaborating on the degree to which the White House didn't want the American People to know about this:
The White House made no comment last night. A senior official reached by telephone said the issue was too sensitive to talk about. None of several press officers contacted responded to telephone or e-mail messages.
As for the rest of the Republicans, well this is something you won't find as a headline on the National Review Online, The, ChronWatch (all the extremely conservative blogs that feed the minds of intolerant ideologues. But, surprisingly enough, it's the latest headline on the Fox News website as of 12:43 am CST (simply an AP report to maintain credibility)

We've all known the executive could exploit the Patriot Act for political reasons, but a 3-year old, secret executive order to spy on completely domestic U.S. communication without a warrant is a threat to the democracy and freedom that Bush often champions.

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