Judge James Robertson of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court resigned in protest of Bush’s secret spying program. This is worrisome in the fact that not only are our military, intelligence, judicial, and even some legislative bodies revolting against the president’s over-reaching presidential powers, but its also worrisome because it seems obvious that there must be illegality in the way the president has acted in this instance.
At the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan was asked to explain why Bush last year said, “Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.” McClellan said the quote referred only to the USA Patriot Act.
This doublespeak hair-splitting is increasingly damaging to the sort of credibility our government, especially the executive branch has as a democratic institution. If there are those ways by which the president can get legal wiretaps I see no reason why he shouldn’t use those channels rather than the clandestine ones. And don’t tell me that this illegal secrecy is needed to fight Al Qaida, because getting a court order from the court if it is a necessity should not be any obstacle and it covers your bases and adds credibility to your case and actions. If this was a matter of fighting the terrorists then why haven’t we seen better improvements in homeland security as recommended by the 9/11 Commission. No, this is more about presidential (and vice-presidential) power, than security.
By usurping the powers that provide checks and balances to the executive branch, the White House is in effect making itself ripe for abuse and corruption (which I think has most certainly already happened). As out clueless leader looks around the world for new places to “spread democracy” to, one cannot even feign shock to see the sort of anti-Americanism that exists in the world, especially the Middle East. Now I am not condoning this anti-Americanism (because that is what Republicans LOVE to jump on to accuse liberals of “treason” and other such bullshit), but it certainly isn’t totally unfair to see why people doubt America’s motives when the president and his ilk lie to their own people and subvert the same democracy they tout to the world as being so unique to America.
I wholeheartedly support investigation into this secret spy pogrom (oops I meant program!) as well as CIA secret prisons.