Life in Bush’s America:
A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources.
“It’s time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,” the source told us in an in-person conversation.
ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.
Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.
Think that the government has a FISA warrant for this activity? I have a nice bridge in Alaska for you. So we are looking at unsupervised government wiretapping, also known at the president’s “Terrorist Surveillance Program.”
There seems to be a disconnect here. The name of the program seems to implies that it surveils terrorists. Let’s try to find a connection between the Foley scandal and terrorists…other than the truly insane ramblings of Dennis Hastert there isn’t any. Just a story about a Congressman who couldn’t keep his pants zipped and the House leadership who protected him. So national security is pretty much a dead end.
However this scandal poses an undeniable, clear and present danger to Republican security. Desperate to save their hides, our Republican government would love the power to surveil people like Brian Ross without any oversight body and just maybe find an incriminating bit of knowledge that could change the story overnight. Only inbuilt checks like the FISA court stand in the way of Nixonian abuses on the privacy of ordinary American citizens. In fact that is precisely why FISA was enacted in the first place.
I think you gan guess where this is going. Thanks to the best efforts of truly mindless enablers from John Yoo to power-drunk pundits in DC and online our present administration truly believes that they can surveil whoever they choose without answering to any oversight body whatsoever. Most enablers tell themselves that the president will only use his powers for good because, well, because he’s a good person, and some genuinely don’t care how he will use his powers as long as he uses them for Republicans. Let’s be honest, the first excuse is the most pathetic sort of voluntary blindness and the second is nakedly un-American.
Simple fact: when you add power and subtract oversight and accountability abuse will follow. Humans follow their nature like water flows downhill. Frankly, under the powers claimed by the White House for itself we should have no doubt that every major player in the Foley scandal is under intense and unsupervised government surveillance. As it stands, and bear in mind that this is precisely how the GOP’s remaining followers want it, the only thing standing in the way of that reality is the goodwill of Republican leaders. I’m sure that there exists a person whose goodwill can survive the threat of disgrace, unemployment and prison but that person sure as hell does not work in DC.
Yep, 5-month-old quote. That’s what I get for googling around without reading the pub date.
The general point stands – the government claims the right to surveil who it chooses without oversight. In an existential fight for their political survival, who believes taht our leaders will voluntarily limit their surveillance to real terrorists? I doubt that any credible student of human nature thinks that they will do so.