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Insider 01-07-2006 01:27 PM

Bush taking on king-like powers
Taken from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

President Bush has publicly admitted giving approval to the National Security Agency for domestic spying on U.S. citizens without a warrant.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires a warrant from a secret court for such activities, “except as authorized by statute.” The administration, while citing no such statute, claims that a new exception was created “implicitly” when Congress authorized the use of military force after 9/11.

While legal scholars debate whether such loopholes are sufficient to avoid breaking the letter of the law, Bush is breaking the spirit of the law – a law intended to provide one small check on an otherwise unlimited government power to spy on anyone, anywhere, anytime.

FISA allows retroactive court approval in time-critical situations, so there is no credible excuse not to get a warrant. Bush makes no apology for ignoring the court and says he will continue to do so. We are fed the usual excuses of terrorism and 9/11 – the same ones used to justify torture, secret prisons and an unrelated war.

In one respect, Bush is right: Living in a police state would make us safer from terrorists. North Korea is probably the most difficult place on Earth for terrorists to operate.

Does anyone want to make that trade-off?

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty in the pursuit of a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.”
Bush is making a mockery of the U.S. Constitution. If we let him get away with that, he is no longer merely our president. If our “guaranteed” rights are only as good as Bush’s opinion of them, he is our king.

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