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Bob Barr: Presidential Snooping Damages the Nation

Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr has a new column in Time Magazine on how Bush's warrantless NSA surveillance program damages the U.S.

Let's focus briefly on what the President has done here. Exactly like Nixon before him, Bush has ordered the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct electronic snooping on communications of various people, including U.S. citizens. That action is unequivocally contrary to the express and implied requirements of federal law that such surveillance of U.S. persons inside the U.S. (regardless of whether their communications are going abroad) must be preceded by a court order.

....The Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the assertion that a President may conduct electronic surveillance without judicial approval for national security, noting in 1972 that our "Fourth Amendment freedoms cannot properly be guaranteed if domestic security surveillances may be conducted solely within the discretion of the Executive Branch."

Barr makes the point that cannot be repeated often enough: today it's al-Qaida, tomorrow it could be us:

Tomorrow, it may be your phone calls or e-mails that will be swept up into our electronic infrastructure and secretly kept in a growing file attached to your name. Then everyone you contact could become a suspect, a link in an ever lengthening chain that would ensnare us all in the files of the largest database ever created through unlimited electronic spying that touches every aspect of our lives.

Hat tip Patriot Daily.

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  • Re: Bob Barr: Presidential Snooping Damages the Na (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 02:09:46 PM EST
    Bedfellows, meet strangeness. But good in this case. And probably indicative of a much broader base of disagreement with the President than he wants to believe.

    So riddle me this then - how is any NSA surveillance legal at all then? If the NSA monitors transmissions from nation A, there's not necessarily a way to tell beforehand where those transmissions are going to. Given that this is all automated, how do you propose that they do surveillance of foreign subjects?

    Re: Bob Barr: Presidential Snooping Damages the Na (none / 0) (#4)
    by Sailor on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 04:14:47 PM EST
    So riddle me this then - how is any NSA surveillance legal at all then?
    Uhh, gee, you go to a judge, get a warrant, get the tap. If you don't have time do the tap, and get the warrant later ... just not 3 years later.

    Re: Bob Barr: Presidential Snooping Damages the Na (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 08:52:36 PM EST
    Say what you will about Barr, but he's always been on the side of civil liberty. It's good to see him speaking out. He believes in liberty...and that's enough.

    Re: Bob Barr: Presidential Snooping Damages the Na (none / 0) (#6)
    by Dadler on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 09:10:39 PM EST
    kdog, he's not into liberty when it comes to reproductive rights. among others. on this, tho, i'll take his support.

    Re: Bob Barr: Presidential Snooping Damages the Na (none / 0) (#7)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 09:57:15 PM EST
    JR, They have three days after surveillance to get a rubber stamp from the secret FISA court. And then it's retroactively made legal. They just refuse to do even that.