Thursday, April 26, 2007

Signs and portents

In the first judicial assessment of the Bush administration’s surveillance program Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of United States District Court in Detroit ruled against the Bush administration, citing the Fourth Amendment and a 1978 law requiring warrants for wiretapping in the United States.

“It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly when his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights.”
Judge Taylor emphasized that the three branches of government are designed to provide checks and balances against each other. It's a sign.

Of course the administrations response is predictable: Gonzales says the program is lawful because he believes it's lawful and Tony Snow says it's lawful because it's intentions are good. The decision will probably be overturned and the judge's patriotism attacked by Bush's Men in Black, but it's a sign.

James R. Clapper, the Pentagon’s new intelligence chief, says he wants to get rid of the ominously titled "Talon" program; an "antiterrorism" data base program that has expanded to include reports about antiwar groups, churches and student activists. Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed that the list of suspicious activities included a church service for peace and named a March 2005 anti-war rally in Akron, Ohio, a “potential terrorist activity.”

Whether or not Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates will approve scrapping Rumsfeld's Hooverish program is uncertain but in either event, it's a sign.


d.K. said...
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d.K. said...

The whole thing is an ominous sign...

That judge based her ruling on what she learned in fourth grade civics class (the day GWB was absent, apparently) - forget about law school and judicial experience.

Clapper (an unfortunate name if ever there was one for a Bush lackey) wants to "change the name" of Talon, but presumably, that's all. Maybe if we call it "furry little paws" it won't be such an offensive program to many of us.


Intellectual Insurgent said...

Maybe if we call it "furry little paws" it won't be such an offensive program to many of us.

LOL!! Great comment and probably true.

Capt. Fogg said...

Orwell would approve