Thursday, December 15, 2005

Report: Bush Permitted NSA to Spy in U.S.

I don't believe this, although a part of me is not surprised by it. This is from Yahoo News:

President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States without getting search warrants— following the Sept. 11 attacks, The New York Times reports.

The presidential order, which Bush signed in 2002, has allowed the agency to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States, according to a story posted Thursday on the Times' Web site.

Before the new program began, the NSA typically limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions and obtained court orders to do so. Under the post-Sept. 11 program, the NSA has eavesdropped, without warrants, on as many 500 people inside the United States at any given time. Overseas, 5,000 to 7,000 people suspected of terrorist ties are monitored at one time.

The Times said reporters interviewed nearly a dozen current and former administration officials about the program and granted them anonymity because of the classified nature of the program.

Government officials credited the new program with uncovering several terrorist plots, including one by Iyman Faris, an Ohio trucker who pleaded guilty in 2003 to supporting al-Qaida by planning to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, the report said.

But some NSA officials were so concerned about the legality of the program that they refused to participate, the Times said. Questions about the legality of the program led the administration to temporarily suspend it last year and impose new restrictions.

Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the
American Civil Liberties Union, said the group's initial reaction to the disclosure was "shock that the administration has gone so far in violating American civil liberties to the extent where it seems to be a violation of federal law."

So the National Security Agency has monitored 5000 to 7000 American citizen's international phone calls and emails without search warrants, with possibly 500 American citizens inside of the continental U.S. And what do they have to show for this egregious disregard for your civil liberties? One suspected terrorist plot to blow up the Brooklin Bridge?

Do you still feel safe, now that the government may be illegally monitoring you? Do you feel safe that the NSA is eavesdropping on your phone calls and emails without search warrants? And anything they learn from you could be deemed classified to protect "national security interests?" Do you feel safe now, knowing that law enforcement can tap your phone lines and email without a search warrant? Do you feel safe, now that our National Security Agency is using Gestapo tactics?

Do you feel safe now?

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