Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dems Agree to Expand Domestic Spying

Remind me again what it's supposed to mean to be a Democrat? At times I wonder, especially when I read articles like this one from Wired:
Breaking months of acrimonious deadlock, House and Senate leaders from both parties have agreed to a bill that gives the nation's spy agencies the power to turn a wide swath of domestic communication companies into intelligence-gathering operations, and that puts an end to court challenges to telecoms such as AT&T that aided the government's secret, five-year warrantless wiretapping program.

Civil liberties proponents quickly blasted the deal.

"The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation," said Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, the only senator who voted against the Patriot Act in 2001. "The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President’s illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home."

But wait...there's more!
The bill itself oddly admits that the government's surveillance activities included more than the previously admitted "Terrorist Surveillance Program." That program, admitted by the president after The New York Times revealed it in December 2005, targeted Americans to intercept their international phone calls and e-mails without getting court approval. In a provision authorizing an oversight investigation, the bill refers to the "President's Surveillance Program," of which the so-called TSP was just one part.

That all but confirms what many have reported and suspected: that there was much more unilateral surveillance than the president or his lawyers have ever admitted.

Civil Liberties...once a concept now forgotten...


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