Saturday, May 13, 2006

Cheney Counsels Secret Lawbreaking by the Unbound Executive

Is anyone still surprised by this stuff?
In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and his top legal adviser argued that the National Security Agency should intercept purely domestic telephone calls and e-mail messages without warrants in the hunt for terrorists, according to two senior intelligence officials.
And we know what happened with that decidedly un-American advice:
Even with the N.S.A. lawyers' reported success in limiting its scope, the program represents a fundamental expansion of the agency's practices, one that critics say is illegal. For the first time since 1978, when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed and began requiring court approval for all eavesdropping on United States soil, the N.S.A. is intentionally listening in on Americans' calls without warrants.

. . .

By all accounts, General Hayden was the principal architect of the plan. He saw the opportunity to use the N.S.A.'s enormous technological capabilities by loosening restrictions on the agency's operations inside the United States.

For his part, Mr. Cheney helped justify the program with an expansive theory of presidential power, which he explained to traveling reporters a few days after The Times first reported on the program in December.
Without warrants from any court, in total violation of the law, and without ever requesting that Congress change those laws, the NSA is stockpiling data on every American's private phonecalls and emails. With that illegal information, the NSA is secretly creating lists of people are wiretapping them--without warrants from any court--in total violation of the law, without ever requesting that Congress change those laws.

Whatever happened to small government conservatives wanting to get big government off the back of the little guy?

Charade you are.

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