“Congressional Democrats redefine spinelessness with the new FISA law.”
into law Sunday takes this analogy to its logical extreme: Where government surveillance is concerned, the new law eliminated speed limits altogether. The infrastructure this nation established following Watergate to govern domestic spying has died many little deaths in the years since 9/11. But Sunday was the last sequel in a tired series. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is now dead, and it’s never coming back.In an editorial last year, the New York Times likened the Bush administration’s efforts to retroactively make its warrantless wiretapping program legal, to a person caught speeding who persuades the legislature to raise the speed limit. The new surveillance bill President Bush signed
The secrecy and complexity of government wiretapping make it an especially difficult issue for the average American to grasp, and — for the same reasons — an especially easy issue for politicians to manipulate. The finer points of the FISA are complicated: Debates about the 1978 law have a tendency to degenerate into impenetrable legalese. The technology itself is tough to grasp, as well; talk of data packets and data mining can be a bit forbidding, and it’s all so secret that whatever the public does learn from the occasional leak seldom amounts to a comprehensive picture anyhow.
To further complicate matters, politicians keep insisting that even when we cannot understand all this patchy techno-legal babble surrounding eavesdropping, the public should nevertheless recognize that it’s really, really important, and that fixes to the existing programs are so urgently needed, that there’s not even time to comprehend what’s being changed. In prevailing upon congressional Democrats to pass the new surveillance bill before leaving for the August recess, Trent Lott suggested that if they didn’t, the capital might well be attacked, advising his fellow Washingtonians “to leave town in August.” MORE
WHAT ABOUT: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” — Fourth Amendment To The United States Constitution
ONE SENTENCE EDITORIAL: We Didn’t Make Fun Of Rick Santorum Every Day For A Year So That So That Bob Casey Could Go To The Shore With A Clear Conscious After Rolling Over For Legislation Like This That Excludes Domestic Spying From Judicial Review — And We Don’t Want To Hear It That ‘Time Was Running Out,’ The White House Has Known Since January That The Spying Program Was Illegal
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