Tuesday, December 20, 2005


This is a commentary article, written by Bruce Fein, for the Washington Times. What is especially interesting is that the Washington Times is a Moonie-controlled newspaper. Here are some excerpts of what Fein writes:

President Bush presents a clear and present danger to the rule of law. He cannot be trusted to conduct the war against global terrorism with a decent respect for civil liberties and checks against executive abuses. Congress should swiftly enact a code that would require Mr. Bush to obtain legislative consent for every counterterrorism measure that would materially impair individual freedoms....

Mr. Bush insisted in his radio address that the NSA targets only citizens "with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist organizations."

But there are no checks on NSA errors or abuses, the hallmark of a rule of law as opposed to a rule of men. Truth and accuracy are the first casualties of war. President Bush assured the world Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 invasion. He was wrong. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Americans of Japanese ancestry were security threats to justify interning them in concentration camps during World War II. He was wrong. President Lyndon Johnson maintained communists masterminded and funded the massive Vietnam War protests in the United States. He was wrong. To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan's remark to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, President Bush can be trusted in wartime, but only with independent verification.

The NSA eavesdropping is further troublesome because it easily evades judicial review. Targeted citizens are never informed their international communications have been intercepted. Unless a criminal prosecution is forthcoming (which seems unlikely), the citizen has no forum to test the government's claim the interceptions were triggered by known links to a terrorist organization.

Americablog reports that Fein was a "Justice Department official under Ronald Reagan." Fein is also a constitutional lawyer and international consultant for Bruce Fein & Associates and the Lichfield Group. What I find especially interesting about this article is that a former Reagan Justice Department official, with possibly some impressive conservative credentials, is attacking the Bush White House for overstepping the bounds of presidential power with this NSA wiretapping, in a column of a Republican-propaganda newspaper. Perhaps what Fein realizes is that this type of presidential power-grab can cut both ways. Not only could the NSA look into liberal or Democratic-leaning political groups and organizations, but also towards conservative-leaning groups and organizations. Why stop at using these NSA databases for looking at MoveOn.org, Greenpeace or PETA. How about looking into the Minutemen, who are supposedly watching for the illegal Mexicans crossing over the borders into the US? Or how many neo-Nazi / KKK-loving paramilitary groups are setting up bases in remote locations of Montana and Idaho? What if a Democratic president takes power in 2008, and decides to use these NSA databases for snooping into Republican-leaning organizations? Are conservatives and Republicans only going to say that this kind of power is only reserved for one political party--and the Democrats are not on the list? These laws were set up to maintain that delicate system of checks and balances. In one sense, they were designed to protect this country, and the government, from extremism and its lustful desire for absolute power. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts--absolutely.

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