Friday, December 16, 2005

Those ever changing rules

Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts - New York Times
The eavesdropping program grew out of concerns after the Sept. 11 attacks that the nation's intelligence agencies were not poised to deal effectively with the new threat of Al Qaeda and that they were handcuffed by legal and bureaucratic restrictions better suited to peacetime than war, according to officials. In response, President Bush significantly eased limits on American intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the military.
You see how the rules of the games are changing. Quite right too; those "legal and bureaucratic restrictions" were obviously just a superfluous indulgence on the part of democratic countries like the US and the UK. There is absolutely no reason why these limits shouldn't be discarded.
Widespread abuses - including eavesdropping on Vietnam War protesters and civil rights activists - by American intelligence agencies became public in the 1970's and led to passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which imposed strict limits on intelligence gathering on American soil. Among other things, the law required search warrants, approved by the secret F.I.S.A. court, for wiretaps in national security cases.
See? Nothing to worry about. No sir.

On a similar theme, here in the UK it appears that our great leader would quite like to tap the phones of our elected representatives (via). Good idea. That small but stubborn band of aggravatingly independent MPs will soon think twice about criticising the great one's policies once we've got this up and running (goodness knows what might be "accidentally" leaked to the press if they persist in causing trouble after all). Yay for democracy.

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