“When the President does it, that means it is not illegal”
In 2005, President George W. Bush’s illegal program to spy on American’s phone calls and e-mails without a judge’s warrant was exposed by the New York Times. The President clearly and unequivocally broke the laws that protected Americans’ privacy since the dark days of Watergate when it was shown that Richard Nixon routinely spied on innocent Americans and political enemies. This program was ruled unconstitutional and illegal by the courts.
Today the United States Senate overwhelmingly voted to legalize the President’s program and grant immunity to the telecommunication companies like AT&T which broke the law in cooperated with the National Security Agency (Qwest did not cooperate). Dozens of lawsuits will now be dismissed, and we may never know the extent of the illegal spying that occurred. I suppose the Constitution doesn’t win many votes these days (even from a particular Illinois senator).
Has the United States fallen so far in thirty-five years with respect to the rule of law and the Constitution? Has 9/11 permitted brazen lawbreaking and lying by the executive branch and the undoing our Constitution? Does it even matter that Congress is controlled by the Democrats to give their “enemy” George Bush his power trip?
On August 8, the anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, a left-wing and right-wing coalition of groups will be holding an online fundraiser “moneybomb” to hold the politicians accountable for their crimes against freedom.
Because this isn’t about liberalism or conservatism or about politics. It’s about the one thing that holds this strange, diverse, and fascinatingly interesting Union of fifty states together.
Don’t we owe it a favor or two?
Glenn Greenwald – On Telecom Immunity
Bhatany Report – Issue V: Civil Liberties, Torture, and the Constitution