Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Prince Dubya's many transgressions

Prince Dubya's many transgressions
Dec 20, 2005, 02:42
Capitol Hill Blue

Of all the egregious transgressions of basic civil rights committed by this administration, not only against the American public, but also against the world, I'm going to make conservatives smile and liberals cringe and say the following: illegally wiretapping U.S. citizens doesn't even come close to "most egregious."

Has Prince Dubya run roughshod over the civil and constitutional rights of American citizens? You bet. Is authorizing the National Security Agency to listen in on Americans' calls to overseas locations or to monitor e-mails sent abroad without warrants a violation of constitutional rights and most probably American law? Likely, yes. But is it the worst Prince Dubya's done? Not close.

Consider why: Right after 9/11, American intelligence was desperate for information on U.S. links to Osama bin Laden. We invaded Afghanistan shortly thereafter. Unlike the U.S. invasion of Iraq, now widely suspect in the minds of most Americans and seen as unthinkable by much of the world, few if anyone disputed the president's dismemberment of the Taliban.

There is some evidence NSA wiretaps may have helped in that effort, or thwarted later terrorist plots. Sources told major newspapers this past weekend that one potential terrorist act undone by the NSA's wiretaps was a plan by Iyman Faris, an Ohio truck driver, who pleaded guilty in 2003 to planning to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.

I give the government an extremely wide berth when it comes to tracking down foreign enemies. But that wide berth narrows down to a sliver when it comes to my privacy, health and constitutional rights....