Tuesday, January 10, 2006
No need to worry: Sue's being mindful!
January 9, 2006
Thank you for contacting me, regarding recent reports about
intelligence-gathering activities by the National Security Agency
("NSA"). I appreciate your input on this serious matter.
The NSA was established by President Harry Truman in 1952, by
executive order, for the purpose of collecting and analyzing signal
intelligence related to our national security. As you know, it has been
reported that after the attacks of September 11, the NSA surveilled the
communications of some individuals within the United States.
President Bush has confirmed that he authorized such a program in
the aftermath of the attacks as a part of the government's efforts to
prevent additional attacks, and stated that a select, bipartisan group of
Congressional leaders were briefed about this program. President
Bush has also stated that all of the calls being monitored involved
individuals with known and confirmed Al Qaeda contacts, and that all
calls were initiated outside the United States to locations inside the
Protecting our country from terrorist attack must be a central focus of
the federal government's activities, but we must also ensure this
mission is carried out in a way that properly respects our privacy and
vital civil liberties. As Congress continues to closely examine these
reports and the activities of the NSA, please know that I will be
mindful of these critical imperatives.
Again, thank you for your concern in this matter and for taking the
time to contact my office. I look forward to hearing from you again
in the future.
Member of Congress
But what makes this letter all the more disturbing is this article in today's Times Herald Record. Rep. Maurice Hinchey is slightly more opinionated than Sue when it comes to NSA spying: "We have an administration which is trying to adopt a kind of imperial presidency ... and establish a kind of autocratic government," Hinchey said. "This executive branch thinks it can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, and we have got to stop it." Though the newspaper did get a comment for Sue, it was about as informative as her letters.
Isn't it time the people of the 19th had a Rep. who was capable of doing something more than being mindful?
Mr. Bush had this to say about the disclosure that his administration has authorized spying on American citizens without benefit of a court order: "The fact that somebody leaked this program causes great harm to the United States . . . There's an enemy out there."
Besides the fact that he seems to be more upset that someone loyal to the Constitution ratted the administration out, why wasn't the president just as upset about whoever in his administration leaked the name of Valerie Plame? Leaking the name of an undercover CIA operative who actually worked on finding weapons of mass destruction didn't cause great harm to our national security? Would he have us believe that leaking national security secrets is OK, as long as it's done by senior administration officials or their staff?
Yes, there are enemies out there, and yes, America needs to do what it can to stop them, but we need to do things legally and by the book. Otherwise, we are no better than the people we claim are evil. We also jeopardize any cases that may be brought up in court, due to illegally obtained evidence. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court has issued many thousands of wiretap warrants, and has only denied less than maybe 10. Warrants can also be applied for after the fact. Is this too hard for the administration to deal with?
Mr. Bush took an oath to uphold the Constitution also. That means that things need to be done legally all of the time, not just when he finds it convenient.
"this is an issue that Congress is investigating, because we need to make sure that this program has the sole purpose of collecting intelligence information necessary to protect us from terrorist attacks."
She is completely wrong. If she wasn't a complete Delay/Bush/Abramoff clack, she would have said:
"This is an issue that Congress is investigating, because we need to make sure that this program protects us from terrorism while staying within the letter of federal law. What good is protecting us from terrorism, if, in doing so, our great nation becomes a lawless dictatorship? Then the terrorists will have truely won."