Thursday, May 11, 2006

BUSH DEFENDS PHONE-RECORD COLLECTION

Responding to a report in Thursday's USA TODAY that the government is collecting our phone records, President Bush said:
After September the 11th, I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack. As part of this effort, I authorized the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. In other words, if al Qaeda or their associates are making calls into the United States or out of the United States, we want to know what they're saying.

Today there are new claims about other ways we are tracking down al Qaeda to prevent attacks on America. I want to make some important points about what the government is doing and what the government is not doing.

First, our international activities strictly target al Qaeda and their known affiliates. Al Qaeda is our enemy, and we want to know their plans. Second, the government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval. Third, the intelligence activities I authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat. Fourth, the privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities.

We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans. Our efforts are focused on links to al Qaeda and their known affiliates. So far we've been very successful in preventing another attack on our soil.

As a general matter, every time sensitive intelligence is leaked, it hurts our ability to defeat this enemy. Our most important job is to protect the American people from another attack, and we will do so within the laws of our country.
Didn't take him long to invoke the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, did it?

He continues to claim that spying on us in the U.S. is "lawful," while still blatantly breaking the law.

He says our privacy is "fiercely protected," but government collection of our phone records without good reason is a blatant violation the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
He pleases his far-right (and media-hating) base by criticizing leaks of sensitive information, but he (and they) are oblivious to the irony. We now know Valerie Plame was monitoring Iran's nuclear capabilities -- sensitive stuff -- when she was outed by leaks from the Bush Administration.

The coming indictment of Karl Rove for his role in covering up the Plame scandal will only increase the descent speed of the president's poll numbers. What the administration needs now is a really big distraction. God help us if that comes to pass.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can almost hear Our Senseless Leader now:

"Know how I spell relief? Two words: I Ran."

Anonymous said...

Americans to NSA:

"Can you hear me now?"

John Stone said...

A classic example of an inartful dodge. Set up a strawman that has about as much relation to the question as whether it rained in Nome today .. and then gleefully whack it down. It's amazing how many times they have gotten away with this sort of thing.