The Secret Domestic Spying U.S. Government is upon us...
From Democracy Now! today, two stories that should be gut-wrenching to those of us who want our country to be free of extra-judicial secret domestic spying. It is not acceptable for the administration to say that it is okay for them to clearly break the law in the 'cause' of securing the nation and rooting out 'terrorists.' Just like the pre-war Nazi regime, when is the line crossed between a country being a nominal democratic republic to that of a totalitarian regime?
For those that support the right of the administration to break the law to wiretap domestic-to-international calls or even domestic-to-domestic calls without FISA court review, I have to ask you this.
What proof are you given to support the administration's claim that it is only using the illegal NSA domestic wiretapping program to monitor calls from/to the U.S. and Al Queda?
You are given none.
The purpose of the FISA court is exactly to provide a means of popular monitoring of the actions of the secret government - the NSA, CIA, FBI and others. It is to provide that proof, that evidence. FISA was created after abuses made by the Nixion administration of domestic and international wiretapping in the name of national security but, it turned out, were actually used against their political enemies, public dissidents and citizens expressing legal, peaceful speech.
Why would anyone simply blindly trust, without any proof, that this administration is actually being truthful about anything, and particularly about domestic wiretapping when it says to just 'trust us' we're not using our massive wiretapping and monitoring systems for anything other than Al Queda.
The point is, the administration may be telling the truth about its illegal wiretapping program. But, we will never know if it is telling the truth because it is not letting us (meaning the people of the United States) see any evidence that it is telling the truth because it is side-stepping the FISA court.
Gonzales: Gov't Has Power To Monitor Domestic Calls
Back in Washington, the Bush administration is now suggesting it might have the legal authority to conduct surveillance on domestic communication between Americans without a court warrant. Until now the administration has maintained it only has the authority to conduct warrantless eavesdropping of calls made to or coming from other countries. On Thursday Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the House Judiciary Committee. When he was asked if the president might order strictly domestic spy operations, Gonzalez said "I'm not going to rule it out." Congressman Adam Schiff of California said he found Gonzales statement to be very disturbing. Schiff said "If the administration believes it can tap purely domestic phone calls between Americans without court approval, there is no limit to executive power. This is contrary to settled law and the most basic constitutional principles of the separation of powers."
AT&T Whistleblower: AT&T Cooperated With NSA Over Spying
Meanwhile a retired AT&T telecommunications technician named Mark Klein has reportedly given a sworn statement that AT&T has been working with the National Security Agency to spy on Americans. Klein gave the statement as part of a lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against several major telecommunications companies. Klein reportedly also disclosed several internal AT&T documents that showed AT&T put a "dragnet surveillance" in place to help the NSA. Klein's statement and the documents have been put under seal. According to attorneys at EFF, the leaked AT&T documents supports the group's claim that AT&T is diverting Internet traffic into the hands of the NSA wholesale, in violation of federal wiretapping laws and the Fourth Amendment. EFF's staff attorney Kurt Opsahl said "Mark Klein is a true American hero. He has bravely come forward with information critical for proving AT&T's involvement with the government's invasive surveillance program."