The NSA is Still Wiretapping. And We’re Surprised?

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Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 11:16 am

I hate to say it, but, I told you so

Just the other day, when I was writing about the case of Jewel v. NSA (and responding to the Columbia Journalism Review’s criticism that no one was covering this important case about warrantless wiretapping), I remarked that while everyone’s been up in arms about the Obama administration’s claiming the case should be dismissed because it would reveal “state secrets” — the same argument the Justice Department has made repeatedly in previous cases alleging illegal wiretapping and abusive interrogation programs — no one seemed to notice that the Jewel case charges that the wiretapping program is still going on.

Here’s a quote from the government’s brief asking the federal court to dismiss the case:

Plaintiffs in this action allege that the Government, through the National Security Agency (“NSA”), is undertaking an “illegal and unconstitutional dragnet communications surveillance in concert with major telecommunications companies,” and that NSA has indiscriminately intercepted the content of communications, as well as the communications records, of millions of ordinary Americans.

Interestingly, nowhere in its brief does the government deny that.  It just argues vehemently that the court should dismiss the case.

So should we really be all that surprised that, as James Risen and Eric Lichtblau report in The New York Times today, the charges may turn out to be true?

As Spencer’s already mentioned, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and the Senate Intelligence Committee today promised to investigate. They might want to call the Electronic Frontier Foundation and their clients in the Jewel case as witnesses.

Comments

3 Comments

Gordon Priest
Comment posted April 16, 2009 @ 10:12 am

The legacy of Bush has been government by FIAT rather than by law. If Obama is to continue this practice then nothing has changed, but if the government is proved to have broken or otherwise violated the law or its intent, then this becomes law and it will be much harder for the likes of Bush to exercise power by FIAT.


Eric
Comment posted April 16, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

This should be no surprise to anyone, seeing as how the same people are exercising power in the current administration as exercised it in past ones. There have been no real changes in policy since Obama took center stage. Except, of course, for a further denuding of our civil liberties (almost all of which have their foundation in administrations that ended more than 20 years). The thing is that no one wants to find out what the real history of these politics is, they simply want to blame the politicians on the other side of the fence from them.

While people still allow themselves to be fooled by a false dichotomy centered around a few polarizing issues (healthcare, gay marriage, abortion), nothing will get solved.


Eric
Comment posted April 17, 2009 @ 3:37 am

This should be no surprise to anyone, seeing as how the same people are exercising power in the current administration as exercised it in past ones. There have been no real changes in policy since Obama took center stage. Except, of course, for a further denuding of our civil liberties (almost all of which have their foundation in administrations that ended more than 20 years). The thing is that no one wants to find out what the real history of these politics is, they simply want to blame the politicians on the other side of the fence from them.

While people still allow themselves to be fooled by a false dichotomy centered around a few polarizing issues (healthcare, gay marriage, abortion), nothing will get solved.


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