There is a fraud being perpetrated in parts of the US media. Actually, there are several of them, but one is the contention that the Bush administration has illegally gone where no government had gone before by wiretapping international phone calls from suspected terrorists into or out of america without first obtaining a warrant. Those of a certain political stripe call this 'domestic spying on american citizens'. You know right away you are dealing with someone who might have their own agenda when they refer to international calls as 'domestic', and monitoring foreign terrorist suspects as 'spying on american citizens', but those are only minor spin points. Aside from the attempted partisan linguistics, one of the real questions is - are the charges true ? Is Bush the first president to cross the privacy line by spying ?
Hardly. This stuff has been going on for decades, and with far less justification than Bush has had. Check out a few of our government 'projects' over the years, such as, Project Echelon, Project Shamrock, Project Minaret. This type of spying is nothing new.
Of course, just because our government has engaged in this type of spying in the past isn't justification for it to do so now. American citizens have a right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. Also, The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was designed in part as a response to government programs like Project Shamrock, to prevent the government from abusing it's power and trampling the Fourth Amendment. There is always a need to balance national security with individual freedoms, and there is always a need for oversight of our government. Critics of the Bush administration downplay the national security aspect of what Bush is doing (or ignore it completely), but that is completely disingenuous. Any balanced person knows it is a president's duty to protect the american people. There have even been instances where american's rights really have been abridged during wartime, and I'm not talking about listening to phone calls. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus for citizens during the Civil War, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt put Japanese citizens in detention camps during WWII. Yet somehow, those two are considered among our greatest presidents, and neither one of them was impeached or thrown into prison for their heinous crimes. Too bad there wasn't a moveon.org around back then to set those fascist presidents straight, eh ?
Another rampant media-driven misperception is that Bush has pretty much ignored the FISA law. That is not true. Bush has applied for more FISA warrants than any other president. The administration has made thousands of petitions to the FISA court. In 2005, out of 2,074 petitions to FISA, only 2 were rejected. Certain folks would like you to believe that Bush is sitting in the Oval Office listening to Hillary's campaign plans or spying on Nancy Pelosi. These folks are commonly known as 'fools'. You can recognize them by their tin foil hats. The government is tracking international terrorist activity. Even the Democrats in Congress recognize the importance of this, and they could never be accused of being friendly toward the Bush administration. They are enemies of Bush, yet they still extended the Bush wiretapping program once, and they are about to extend it again. After all the partisan squawking, Democrats realize national security is important too. Good for them.
If you want to read about the NSA surveillance controversy, and whether the Bush program is legal or illegal, you can find an overview here. A case may ultimately arrive at the Supreme Court for a decision, but I'd prefer it if Congress clears it up through the legislative process. And for those of you who want to impeach Bush over this, all I can say is, try to gain some perspective, please. The Bush administration isn't the second coming of the Nazis (the second coming of the Nazis is actually what Bush is fighting against). This is just Bush trying to stop Al Qaeda attacks on americans. We shouldn't impeach him for that.
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