Saturday, November 25, 2006

Downplaying The NSA Warrantless Eavesdropping Program

In a speech last week, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales labeled as "myth" the idea that the (NSA warrantless surveillance) program "is an invasion of privacy and an unlawful eavesdropping tool." The program, he said, "does not invade anyone's privacy, unless you are talking to the enemy in this time of war." ...

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, who will take over as House speaker in January, favors an investigation to determine how the security agency's program actually operated and what its legal framework is under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, a senior aide to Ms. Pelosi said. Administration officials said they were concerned they could have to shut down a program they deemed vital to national security.

The 1978 law requires counterterrorism officials to obtain court orders to eavesdrop on people inside the United States. But the security agency's program involved eavesdropping without warrants on the international telephone and e-mail communications of Americans and others in this country suspected of links to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

One can understand why Attorney General Gonzales would make his outrageous claim -- he was among those who approved the unlawful evasion of FISA.

But the New York Times -- which broke the story of the extra-legal warrantless eavesdropping program -- knows full well that the international communications of everyone in the USA are being harvested for data mining. Not just "Americans and others in this country suspected of links to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups."

They shouldn't attempt to put lipstick on a pig.

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