Monday, July 14, 2008

Unclear on the concept....

[posted from Chile]

According to Prof. Marty Lederman over at Balkinization, Sen. Kit Bond needs some refresher courses in civics:
"There is nothing to fear in the [new FISA] bill," says lead sponsor Senator Kit Bond, "unless you have Al Qaeda on your speed dial."
I'm not talking to al Qaeda. So if you want to listen to my phone conversations, go and get a friggin' warrant!!! If I was talking to al Qaeda, I might expect you folks to be snooping. But I'm not. So unless you can show probable cause as to why you should be listening to me, you can go pound sand.

The Fourth Amendment is not there to protect the guilty. It's there to protect the innocent. The guilty can be snooped on with probable cause that they're engaging in illegal activities (no real problem for al Qaeda et al.), and they have no reason for complaint. OTOH, I don't want you snooping on me because you're too stoopid to figure out who the 'bad guys' are ... or just because you feel like it. But that's what you insisted on being able to do in the changes to the FISA laws. And sorry if I won't just take your word for it that you're not going to do so even though the laws says you can.....:
From a July 25, 1969 article in Time:
During his presidential campaign, Richard Nixon said that he would take full advantage of the new [eavesdropping] law -- a promise that raised fears of a massive invasion of privacy. To calm those fears, the Administration last week issued what amounted to an official statement on the subject.

In his first news conference since becoming the President's chief legal officer, Attorney General John N. Mitchell pointedly announced that the incidence of wiretapping by federal law enforcement agencies had gone down, not up, during the first six months of Republican rule. Mitchell refused to disclose any figures, but he indicated that the number was far lower than most people might think. "Any citizen of this United States who is not involved in some illegal activity," he added, "has nothing to fear whatsoever."

As usual, Glenn Greenwald nails it.

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