Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bush caves in on NSA wiretapping

The Bush Administration, in an obvious 11th hour attempt to placate the new Democratic heads of the House and Senate judiciary committees has reversed its position on the NSA's top secret warrantless wiretapping program that was leaked by the New York Times. The adminsistration has for more than a year aggressively defended the legality of the NSA surveillance program and disputed court authority to oversee it.

The NSA will now get special warrants from a `secret court', according to a letter by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sent Wednesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to the letter, a judge on the court is now supposed to authorize any wiretap directed at suspected spies and terrorists.

This comes just two weeks before the Justice Department was to defend the program before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and one day before the Attorney General was to testify before Congress on the matter.

In terms on national security, this is mostly a non-issue. Thanks to the New York Times, potential jihadis have now been warned that any calls made to and from the US to suspect numbers might be subject to surveillance and they now know to change phone numbers and cell phones frequently to avoid it.

I'm sure our enemies are highly gratified.

In terms of legalities and the stance of the Bush Administration, it speaks volumes on how nervous they are about confronting the sort of Democrats who now control the congressional committees.

The president and his associates obviously think that they can stave off the various investigations underway and keep things quiet for the next two years in this fashion. In my opinion, they couldn't be more wrong. The New Order has a lot of scores to settle with the president and his administration, and they aren't inthe mood to forget it.

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