Thursday, April 16, 2009

From the Bush White House: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Well, in the aftermath of 9/11 the American people, in a fit of panic, ceded one of the basic rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. That right is denoted by the 4th 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.

The worst part of it, was that most Americans never saw it happen. Wrapped up in the hysteria, seeing Al Quaeda around every corner and shaken to their core with fear, Americans welcomed President Bush's Patriot Act as a shield against the enemy. Never has a set of laws been so misnamed. There was nothing patriotic about this assault on our civil liberties, and our Constitutional rights. Our government legalized warrant less searches and wiretaps, trampling the Bill of Rights underfoot. And although this bill was designed to ferret out Islamic Extremists in our midst, it has and surely will continue to be used as an overreaching tool by Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement to dig into the personal lives of countless Innocent Americans.

There is simply no excuse for the citizens of the country and our elected officials letting this bill become law. Shame on all of us.We shall now certainly reap what we have sown.

From Fox News- WASHINGTON -- The National Security Agency intercepted Americans' e-mails and phone calls in recent months on a scale that went beyond limits set by Congress last year, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The problems were discovered during a review of the intelligence activities, the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday night, and said they had been resolved.
Citing unnamed intelligence officials, the Times said the NSA had engaged in "'over-collection' of domestic communications of Americans." Sources reportedly described the practice as varying from significant to systemic to unintentional.
The agency also tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, an intelligence official told the Times.
The NSA believed that the congressman, whose identity was not revealed, was in contact with an extremist who had possible ties to terror and was already under surveillance. The NSA then tried to eavesdrop on the congressman's conversations, the Times said.
A bill passed by Congress in July 2008 authorizes U.S. intelligence agencies to eavesdrop without court approval on foreign targets believed to be outside the United States.
In its statement, the Justice Department said it has taken "comprehensive steps to correct the situation and bring the program into compliance."
The Justice Department did not elaborate on what problems it found.
Once corrective measures were taken, Attorney General Eric Holder sought authorization for renewing the surveillance program, officials said.
"It is not clear to what extent the agency may have actively listened in on conversations or read e-mails of Americans without proper court authority, rather than simply obtain access to them," the Times said.
Domestic eavesdropping has been a contentious issue since 2005, when the Times revealed that for years following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the NSA intercepted international phone conversations and e-mails involving U.S. citizens without a warrant.
That program ended in 2007, and the following year Congress passed legislation requiring the NSA to get court approval to monitor the purely domestic communications of Americans who came under suspicion.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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