The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901 Message #1655968
Posted By: Amos
26-Jan-06 - 10:42 AM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
US Senators Say Bush Administration Restricting Information in Katrina Response Probe
By VOA News
25 January 2006
Congressional leaders say the White House is refusing to cooperate in an investigation of its response to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the U.S. Gulf coast last year.
Speaking in Washington on Wednesday, Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman said his staff members were told by federal agency officials the White House has barred them from answering questions pertaining to the probe. Republican Senator Susan Collins also criticized the White House for going too far in restricting information.
A White House spokesman has said the administration is cooperating with the Katrina probe, but added that it wants to protect the confidentiality of presidential advisors.
DUMMERSTON, Vt. — President Bush and other members of his administration have been fanning out around the country this week in a public relations blitz to sell the nation on the idea that their campaign domestic surveillance (or, as they call it, their "terrorist surveillance program") is legal and necessary to national security.
The administration is trying to convince us, as they have for the past few weeks, that no laws were broken. They continue to push the idea that the post-9/11 world means that there is no time for legal niceties such as warrants and court orders. If the president says something needs to be done, it needs to be done.
They keep saying this over and over, as if by sheer repetition, they can convince people that they did nothing wrong.
However, it doesn't matter how many times they say they didn't break the law.
It doesn't matter, because they are all lying.
This fact is indisputable: the Bush administration has repeatedly violated the Fourth Amendment, which clearly states "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
In other words, if you are going to search or spy on someone, you have to have to convince a court that you have probable cause to do so before you can get a warrant.
The Foreign Intelligence Services Act (FISA) gives the Bush administration all the power it needs to spy on terror suspects. All it has to do is go to the secret FISA court and request a warrant. The law even gives the government a full 72 hours to ask for a warrant, allowing it to spy first and seek a warrant later if time is of the essence.
The FISA court has approved all but four of the more than 10,000 warrant requests presented to it since 1978, so the bar of legality is set extremely low.
So, if the FISA law is so easy to comply with, why did the Bush administration brazenly violate that law? Because Bush is claiming the right as commander-in-chief to violate any U.S. law on the grounds of national security.
The Bush administration is also claiming a different standard than the Fourth Amendment. They have ordered surveillance based upon "reasonable belief," rather than probable cause. In other words, if they reasonably believe a person has ties to al-Qaida, they have the right to spy on them. They don't need to show probable cause, which remains the accepted standard in a court of law.