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  • Tuesday, February 07, 2006


    Things to Keep In Mind About Domestic Spying

    This article, which spurred my writing the previous post, was in the current issue of Z Magazine (Feb. 2006). I liked how concisely it laid out the legalities and illegalities of the situation. It's easy to be confused by rhetoric from the administration calling "terrorism" a new kind of danger which necessitates abrogation of fundamental Constitutional rights. Right. And the Quakers are plotting the overthrow of the U.S. government. The following is taken from the article linked at the top of this post. I've edited it down to the main points; fuller explanations are in the article.

    Point #1: Electronic surveillance by the Government is strictly limited by the Constitution and Federal Law

    The law on surveillance begins with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which states clearly that Americans' privacy may not be invaded without a warrant based on probable cause. [...]

    Point #2: There are only three laws that permit the government to spy

    There are only three laws that authorize any exceptions to the ban on electronic eavesdropping by the government. [...]

    Point #3: The Bush-NSA spying was not authorized by any of these laws [...]

    Point #4: Congress's post-9/11 use-of-force resolution does not legitimize the Bush-NSA spying[...]

    [...] that resolution contains no language changing, overriding or repealing any laws passed by Congress. Congress does not repeal legislation through hints and innuendos, and the Authorization to Use Military Force does not authorize the president to violate the law against surveillance without a warrant [...]

    Point #5: The need for quick action does not justify an end-run around the courts[...]
    I recommend reading the whole thing.

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