Sunday, May 14, 2006

Cheney wanted more eavesdropping.

According to the New York Times: "Cheney Pushed U.S. to Widen Eavesdropping." Apparently when the Bush regime was debating how much surveillance they should inflict on the American people in violation of the Constitution the vice president was one pushing for more, more and more. Cheney and his staff thought spy agencies should take "sweeping measures" in regards to surveillance. The paper says that insiders report that Cheney and his attorney "took an aggressive view of what was permissible under the Constitution..."

Isn't that the hallmark of the Bush adminsitration? They take a view where they argue the Constitution alleges grants them powers previously unheard of in the White House -- or anywhere else for that matter. Are they not the administration that argued they had the right to torture people, hold them without trial or acess to an attorney and arbitrarily declare people "enemy combatants" without any judicial determination. They are the administration to assert their surpemacy over all other branches of government, a new doctrine, and which says they can pick which laws they will obey and which they will not.

For those who believe the Cosntitution actually limits government (none of whom appear to be in the Bush administration) I recommend Power Surge by Gene Healy and Timothy Lynch. You can read it here.

Meanwhile the controversy over the Bush administrations collecting the phone records of millions of Americans continues. Bush is refusing to deny the reports that the government had phone companies turn these records over to them. But in his radio address he made the carefully worded statement: "The government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval. We are not trawling throught he personal lives of millions of innocent Americans." Of course they were caught eavesdropping on phone calls without search warrants but said they didn't need them if one of the participants in the call was outside the US. However, this does mean that half the people they eavesdropped on were within the United States and no court order was obtained allowing this. Bush says he doesn't need them.

He could argue that the government is doing the "trawling through" the lives of millions of Americans by claiming that the phone companies turned the records over to his administration. It is thought that phone records of up to 200 million Americans were given to the government. The phone companies involved, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth don't deny giving these records to the govenment they just claim they broke no laws.

These are typical weasal tactics where one can appear to answer a question without answering it. Example: if a politician is asked if he went on a junket paid for by a sleazy individual he can say: "I did nothing wrong." That doesn't answer the question it evades it. He may believe he did nothing wrong. But no one asked him if he thought he was doing wrong just if did what he did. The question for Bush is did his administration receive (and ask for) the phone records of millions of innocent Americans. It is a simple yes or no question. Yes means they have the records and no means they don't. All he has to do is say: "We do not have the phone records of millions of Americans." Instead he says he isn't trawling through the records. It's called evasion.