Saturday, November 18, 2006
Some of us who actually know what the Fourth Amendment says believe that its plain language guarantees us a freedom from unwarranted governmental intrusion. Those of us who don't engage in the intellectual dishonestly employed by the supporters of the domestic program know full well that FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) already establishes a framework for warrantless spying, and that it permits for broad surveillance of suspected terrorists. In view of this already adequate framework for terrorist surveillance, we consider the President's extra-judicial, unchecked, and ineffective spying program to be both an abuse of power and a curtailment of the freedom and privacy afforded to every American under the Constitution.
Apparently, those of us who believe in this definition of freedom are a national security threat.
Gonzales told about 400 cadets from the Air Force Academy's political science and law classes that some see the program as on the verge of stifling freedom rather that protecting the country.
"But this view is shortsighted," he said. "Its definition of freedom one utterly divorced from civic responsibility is superficial and is itself a grave threat to the liberty and security of the American people."
This demonization of ideas which don't square with the notion of an imperial presidency is a failsafe tactic employed by this administration whenever it happens to find itself on shaky legal and ethical footing--which is to say, it's employed quite often. Criticism of the war was dangerous, as now, the mere idea that the government should be obey the Fourth Amendment is a "grave threat" to national security.
Call for oversight and lawfulness in domestic spying do pose a "grave threat"--to the powerful, that is. For it is they who are now finding themselves squirming in court to defend their actions, and it is their job security (and liberty) which is threatened by dissent and calls for investigations.
The day the two towers fell, a fifth column was erected in the eyes of our government. For them, the greatest impediment to the war on terrorism launched that day was never bearded men wagging their fingers on grainy videotapes and promising streets filled with blood, but a vocal citizenry fiercely dedicated to enforcing the rule of law.
It is that bloc of citizens, those who call out this administration on its illegaties, who are viewed as the enemy, as the "grave threat". It is us, who refuse to give up liberties in a spat of communal cowardice, who scare the shit out of them. For our dissent, our diligence, and sheer strength in numbers operate as the ultimate threat to that which they seek to protect the most: their power.
Update: See also Vyan's diary here. It provides great analysis and background on the matter.