August 23, 2007

Of Breaking Laws and Immunity

I was running down my standard reading for the morning and imagine my surprise when I discovered that National Intelligence Director Mitch McConnell admits that Verizon, AT&T and others have happily tapped their customers phones at the behest of the various US Intelligence Agencies. And since they've done that, Mr. McConnell suggests that they should be given immunity for their patriotism. Which is all well and good, with the exception of one very important point: THEY BROKE THE FUCKING LAW.

Now, with apologies to my wife and others with more sensitive sensibilities who read this, why on Earth would we even consider pardoning those who would BREAK LAWS to spy on American citizens. Never mind that I'm sure they would argue that their motives are pure as the driven snow, getting warrants is hard, the secret courts are intractable and that the FISA (The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) is inadequate, etc, etc, etc... we are a nation of laws.

Really, what I'm reading is that the National Intelligence Director is saying, "Our processes are antiquated and inadequate and rather than spend the time to suggest valid and much-needed improvements to those processes while maintaining existing oversight, we just went directly to the telcos and got them to help us end-run federal law. But since they're good, patriotic companies, you shouldn't punish them just because they broke the law." This all sounds vaguely reminiscent of another time period in American history where a threat to national security loomed so large that we couldn't possibly be bothered by legalities in our intelligence agencies.

Long story short, I find this whole business terribly troubling and doubly so that President Bush seems to expect the American people to trust that he's got our best interests at heart, we should trust him to know what he's doing, and that his people are equally above reproach and should just be given carte blanche because they love America and wouldn't ever do anything but what's best for America. Frankly, this sort of Machiavellian nonsense where, "trust me, the ends justify the means" would have troubled me in the past and with the advent of Iraq and all of the things that have come out since then, it seems painfully obvious that there is a substantial period of time where this administration hasn't the slightest idea what it's doing. And they want us to let them do whatever they feel is best without the slightest bit of oversight.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at August 23, 2007 09:14 AM | TrackBack