Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rule By State Secrets

It's no secret, in a way.

President Bush and his aides have confirmed that the National Security Agency (NSA), beginning in late 2001, monitored overseas electronic communications without warrants. The question is just exactly who, what and how data was collected under the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

Now, in a legal battle in a federal appeals court over this controversial spying program, the charge is being made that "NSA efforts were not limited to overseas e-mail communications and included the collection of purely domestic traffic." (WaPo)

There are dozens of legal challenges to the NSA program to determine the extent of any abuse in their data mining operation.

But, the Democratic-controlled Congress has not been helpful in getting to the bottom of what many feel is the Bush administration's illegal application of the spying program.... Congress "acceded to the demands of the Bush administration for expanded NSA authority to conduct spying efforts on U.S. soil, effectively approving many of the practices at issue."

Gonzo's Justice Department argues that these cases cannot be pursued anyway because the evidence needed to litigate is a matter of national security. No evidence, no case.

It's the perfect Catch-22 setup for government abuse of privacy.... if there is a rule, no matter what the rule, there is always an exception to the rule. And the D.C. rulers make the rules, and the exceptions.

The courts will have the last word, and that word will probably eventually come from the Supremes. But the deck is stacked.

Against the might of "state secrets" protected by the Bush administration, his Justice Department and the Democratic Congress is the Constitution's protection of citizen rights.

Will the Bush-packed Supreme Court uphold the Constitution, or allow the continuing slide toward a Catch-22 fascist state.

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