The FISA Farce
by James Bovard
Future of Freedom Foundation
President Bush proudly announced last month that he is violating federal law. He declared that in 2002 he ordered the National Security Agency to begin conducting warrantless wiretaps and email intercepts on Americans. He asserted that the wiretaps would continue, regardless of the law.
Bush claims that he must ignore the law because the secret federal court created to authorize such wiretaps moves too slowly to protect U.S. national security. Amazingly, his claim has been treated with respect, if not deference, by much of the nation’s media. Much of the media has groveled to his claim the same way that the special court grovels to federal agencies.
In 1978, responding to scandals about political spying on Americans in the name of counterespionage, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). FISA created a new “court” to oversee federal surveillance of foreign agents within the United States.
...and this from Leonard Pitts Jr., whose column I always read until the newspaper I read it in made a big swing to the right and discontinued printing anything worthwhile from the liberal viewpoint.
Fear and Loathing of Freedom in the White House
by Leonard Pitts Jr.
Detroit Free Press
Another president, perhaps.
Maybe then it would be easier to look the other way, give a tacit nod to the abrogation of constitutional freedoms as a wartime necessity. After all, Abraham Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus during the Civil War and history does not begrudge him for it, given that he faced an enemy massed almost literally within sight of the White House.
But this is not President Lincoln we're talking about. It's not even President Franklin D. Roosevelt, succumbing to post-Pearl Harbor hysteria and interning thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry.
No, we're talking about President George W. Bush -- King George, if you will -- and last month's New York Times bombshell that a few months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop without warrants on phone calls and e-mails of hundreds if not thousands of U.S. citizens.
Go read 'em both, they're well worth the time.