Bush Confirms He Will Seek More Dictatorial Power
After securing supreme status for his
office and a six month window to implement whatever surveillance
methods he wishes, Bush says his work is not yet complete
While Constitutional experts and even sectors of the corporate mainstream
media have denounced the latest power grab by the Bush administration
as "unnecessary and highly dangerous", the President himself
has confirmed that he will seek even more authority from Congress and
will attempt to pass more legislation aimed at granting the government
unquestionable power over the people.
Legislation signed Sunday gives the government the green
light to install permanent backdoors in communications systems that
allow warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, a blatant violation
of the 4th amendment.
The administration has a 6 month window in which to impose any surveillance
program it chooses and that program will go unchallenged and remain
legally binding in perpetuity - it cannot be revoked. Under the definitions
of the legislation, Bush has been granted absolute dictator status for
a minimum of 6 months, dovetailing with a recent
Presidential Decision Directive that also appoints Bush as a supreme
dictator during an announced emergency.
The bill was passed on Friday after the president jawboned
Congress, saying lawmakers could not leave for their August
recess at the weekend unless they "pass a bill that will give our
intelligence community the tools they need to protect the United States."
Despite these huge freedom crushing steps, Bush says he is not done:
"While I appreciate the leadership it took to pass this bill,
we must remember that our work is not done," Bush said in his Sunday
statement. "This bill is a temporary, narrowly focused
statute to deal with the most immediate shortcomings in the law."
The statement continues:
"When Congress returns in September the Intelligence committees
and leaders in both parties will need to complete work on the comprehensive
reforms requested by Director McConnell, including the important issue
of providing meaningful liability protection to those who are alleged
to have assisted our Nation following the attacks of September 11, 2001."
This basically means that the administration will push for liability
for ISP's and cell phone companies in order to head off court cases
brought by the ACLU and others, including retroactive protection which
would neutralize all attempts to challenge the administration's wiretapping
activities spanning back to 9/11.
Constitutional expert and Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin has slammed
the statement and pointed out the use of Orwellian doublespeak
by Bush whereby he effectively admits to breaking the law and illegally
spying on American citizens without actually saying so:
"Apparently 'allegedly helped us stay safe' is Bush Administration
code for telecom companies and government officials who participated
in a conspiracy to perform illegal surveillance... Because what they
did is illegal, we do not admit that they actually did it, we only say
that they are alleged to have done it."
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As the popular left leaning blog Think
Progress has pointed out, even the corporate controlled mainstream
media has editorialized against the FISA legislation, with the New York
Times today calling it an “unnecessary and dangerous expansion of
President Bush’s powers.”:
A skittish Congress allowed itself to be stampeded last week into granting
the president unfettered surveillance power. When it returns to Washington,
it should do what it can to make sure that the sun goes down on this
To call this legislation ill-considered is to give it too much credit:
It was scarcely considered at all. Instead, it was strong-armed through
both chambers by an administration that seized the opportunity to write
its warrantless wiretapping program into law — or, more precisely,
to write it out from under any real legal restrictions.
New York Times:
While serving little purpose, the new law has real dangers. It would
allow the government to intercept, without a warrant, every communication
into or out of any country, including the United States. Instead of
explaining all this to American voters — the minimal benefits
and the enormous risks — the Democrats have allowed Mr. Bush and
his fear-mongering to dominate all discussions on terrorism and national
Los Angeles Times:
You know something’s wrong with this Congress when a Democratic
champion of privacy rights feels compelled to vote for Republican legislation
that compromises those rights. That’s what California Sen. Dianne
Feinstein did last week when she joined a stampede to approve a temporary
“fix” sought by the Bush administration in a law governing
No-limits spying is on a roll. In rushed votes, both the House and
Senate meekly accepted a White House plan to vastly expand phone and
e-mail eavesdropping. The changes were sold as a key step in tracking
foreign terrorists and their allies on American soil. But the shift
guts any semblance of oversight, leaving the picking and choosing of
targets to spy agencies.
The administration maintains that technological changes have created
problems with the 1978 law. But never has Bush demonstrated why the
terms of that law, which permitted officials to get warrant approvals
up to 72 hours after they started a wiretap, are no longer workable.
This and other questions could have been answered if Congress had demanded
an open debate on the administration’s bill. Its failure to do
so is a shameful abdication of its own responsibility. It’s difficult
to maintain a system of checks and balances when one branch simply checks
Now the authority to approve wiretaps rests with the attorney general
- hardly a reassuring prospect given Alberto Gonzales’ performance
in that office - and the director of national intelligence. …
Given the administration’s expansive view of its own powers, this
FISA rewrite could allow much wider eavesdropping, with little outside
After the 9/11 attacks, President Bush did an end run around the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which prohibits eavesdropping
on Americans without judicial oversight. Instead of going to Congress
to change the law, Bush decided to simply monitor without warrants the
international phone calls and e-mails of people inside the United States.
Six years later, the Bush administration belatedly has gone to Congress.
But instead of promoting modernization in the law, the administration
has ginned up new fears about terrorist attacks and cowed Congress into
passing hasty, ill-considered changes.
The redeeming aspect of the political theater involving Americans’
rights to privacy is that Congress wrote itself an option for a better
ending in six months.
The latest power grabs represent a move to legalize already
covert programs that are in direct violation of
the Constitution of the United States. The neocon administration has
brought its crimes out into the open and the puppet Congress, rather
than holding it accountable, is actively legalizing criminality.
BECAUSE THERE'S A WAR ON FOR YOUR MIND