Our nation's Attorney General, John Mitchell, from the year, 1969....
"Any citizen of this United States who is not involved in some illegal activity," he added, "has nothing to fear whatsoever." Link
Mitchell's comment was in reference to this new (at the time) executive power....
The Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968 expressly legalized electronic eavesdropping for the first time in investigations of such serious crimes as treason, robbery and murder-provided the authorities first obtain a court warrant.
As we now know, Mitchell, later disgraced along with his boss Tricky Nixon.....umm....wasn't telling the truth back then.
Thirty nine years later.....from the Senate FISA discussion last week.....
There is nothing to fear in the bill, said Senator Christopher S. Bond, the Missouri Republican who was a lead negotiator, "unless you have Al Qaeda on your speed dial."
The GOP message to Americans in 1969 was "trust us".
The executive branch, all the GOP senators and all but 28 Democratic senators in 2008 now agree with the disgraced criminal John Mitchell's "trust us" message to Americans.
The Nixon administration, as has been known for almost 4 decades now, couldn't be trusted with new wiretapping powers. The Nixon administration not only abused those "trust us" wiretapping powers, but those abuses led directly to Nixon's resignation and the prosecution of several of Nixon's "trust us" team.
The fact that Nixon and his goons couldn't be trusted was the reason why the original FISA laws were passed in 1978. The Nixon administration used the "trust us" powers to go after it's political enemies. Combined with J Edgar Hoover's police state surveillance practices at the time, the nation came to the brink of fascist totalitarianism.
The 1978 FISA laws brought us back from the edge. The FISA Court became the exclusive method of wiretapping American citizens. Back then, the FISA laws were a total repudiation of the "trust us" philosophy of governance. The FISA Court was established for the sole purpose of reigning in an executive branch whose wiretapping abuse of American citizens included claims of "state secrets" or "national security" to hide their lawbreaking from the public.
"....in a memorandum filed during the Chicago trial of eight men charged with conspiring to incite acts of violence during the Democratic National Convention, the Justice Department claimed the inherent right to bug or wiretap-without court orders-any time it felt that the "national security" was in jeopardy."
Nixon, himself, said this about his "national security" justification for his crimes.....
"In 1969, during my Administration, warrantless wiretapping, even by the government, was unlawful, but if undertaken because of a presidential determination that it was in the interest of national security was lawful." Link
The exact "trust us" thinking is now being offered by the 2008 John McCain campaign....
Senator McCain believes that the Democrats’ reckless delay in passing a FISA modernization bill is unnecessarily risking our national security and dangerously restricts the vital efforts of our intelligence community. Link
It is argued that the Bush/Cheney wiretapping was/is only being done on "terrorists". Those who embrace and defend the "trust us" method of Constitutional governance under Bush, reassure me, because they "trust" what their political Leaders say, that ONLY bad terrorists are being wiretapped without judicial oversight. These defenders of "trust us" also tell me that what Bush/Cheney/Rice did in the wholesale vacuuming up of all international calls and e-mails of Americans....is no big deal....nothing other presidents haven't done, etc........
James Comey testified last year that what he and other DOJ officials learned in 2004 about Bush's spying activities for the several years prior was so extreme, so unconscionable, so patently illegal that they all -- including even John Ashcroft -- threatened to resign en masse unless it stopped immediately. Link
There was not one liberal in that DOJ bunch, not one. The Bush spying program was so flagrantly illegal even Mueller and Ashcroft recoiled at the brazenness.
Finally, to those who are still shading themselves under the faux-umbrella of "trust us" governance, to those who spout the "faith based" line that the brand new "trust us" FISA bill includes judicial oversight and accountability.......
The bill does not include a prohibition on bulk collection – the collection of all international communications into and out of the U.S. to a whole continent or even the entire world.
Under the bill, surveillance can begin after the FISA Court authorizes the program, or if the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence certify that they don’t have time to get a court order and that intelligence important to national security may be lost or not timely acquired. This broad ‘exigency’ exception could very well swallow the rule, and undermine any presumption of prior judicial approval. Link
In spite of all these known facts, America's political Leaders overwhelmingly voted for brand spanking new "Operation Trust Us" spying powers for America's executive branch.
Literally,.....it's hard to comprehend.
It's as if Nixon was never president.
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