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Spying: A Spectator Sport

When the Democrats caved to White House fearmongering in the last week before their August recess and passed a bill that gave the Bush administration new powers to conduct warrantless surveillance inside the US, opponents of the bill were appalled. But our warnings that too much latitude was being given to the Bush administration were sidelined. They were brushed aside as the paranoid rantings of a Bush hating sect.

Never let it be said we didn't warn them.
Broad new surveillance powers approved by Congress this month could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include — without court approval — certain types of physical searches on American soil and the collection of Americans’ business records, Democratic Congressional officials and other experts said.

Administration officials acknowledged that they had heard such concerns from Democrats in Congress recently, and that there was a continuing debate over the meaning of the legislative language. But they said the Democrats were simply raising theoretical questions based on a harsh interpretation of the legislation.

Of course "harsh interpretation" is what the Bushies are good at. But not to worry, according to them.
They also emphasized that there would be strict rules in place to minimize the extent to which Americans would be caught up in the surveillance.

There was already "strict rules" in place to "minimize the extent" of Americans under surveillance. It was called FISA and now thanks to the Democrats, it has been affectively rewritten just the way the White House wanted.
The dispute illustrates how lawmakers, in a frenetic, end-of-session scramble, passed legislation they may not have fully understood and may have given the administration more surveillance powers than it sought.

Understatement of the year.

What really makes no sense to me is the fact that it didn't even matter whether Congress rubberstamped the bill or not. Since Bush's warrantless surveillance program was revealed, he and his cronies have asserted that they can do as they damn well please, and that Congress is powerless to try and stop them. Remember now, he was saying this when his allies were running Congress. You really think he's going to be anymore amenable now that his opponents are in charge? Don't count on it.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said of the law "You’ve turned the court into a spectator". If Bush has his way, the same can be said for the Congress.

More from Meme.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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