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Sunday, December 18, 2005

NSA Spying and Libtertarians 

I thought there was nothing illegal, immoral, or undemocratic that this administration could do that would leave me speechless. I thought I'd earned a degree of immunity from constant shell-shock. But this domestic spying business has left me dumbstruck. The secret NSA spying program authorized by the president makes no sense. If the government was only spying on the folks the administration claims it is, then they could do that legally with FISA court authority. Why wouldn't they just get the (apparently ridiculously easy to come by) warrants before surveiling? The FISA courts aren't exactly known for being stingy with them - they've denied less than 10 requests in about 25 years and granted thousands of warrants.

Why did/does the administration need to get around that little (and I mean little) failsafe protecting what little privacy and liberty we've still got guaranteed to us? Well I've got an idea. Remember that thing with John Bolton getting access to NSA records when he wasn't supposed to that surfaced during the debate over his nomination as U.N. ambassador? Now look at these two things side-by-side for a moment. Get it? The FISA courts are easy when it comes to security issues, so why not go through them? Perhaps it's because the intel has less to do with national security and more to do with native political threats to the administration? Not even the most lenient FISA court where the ALJ was not named Rumsfeld or Cheney would issue a warrant for purposes demonstrably divorced from national security.

Can you say COINTELPRO?

I can. And so, I hope, can those politicos in this country that call themselves "libertarians." The next "libtertarian" who defends Bush after this gets his decoder ring taken away and is no longer allowed to use the secret handshake.

UPDATE: That guy who could be underground touches on the subject as well.

UPDATE 2: "Otherwise authorized" my ass. What a ridiculous argument.

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