Festivus Fun: Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar
Originally created to spy on foreign adversaries, the N.S.A. was never supposed to be turned inward. Thirty years ago, Senator Frank Church, the Idaho Democrat who was then chairman of the select committee on intelligence, investigated the agency and came away stunned.
"That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people," he said in 1975, "and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide."
He added that if a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A. "could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back."
Rush Limbaugh, from his radio show on December 22, 2005:
“Liberals and Democrats,” Limbaugh claimed, “are only opposed to this because they don’t want anyone finding out what they’ve been up to. … What have you folks been doing that you so desperately want to keep hidden?”
Rush’s attorney Roy Black with Wolf Blitzer on December 15, 2005:
BLITZER: If Rush Limbaugh has nothing to hide and has done nothing wrong, what’s the problem with letting the prosecutor speak to the doctors and go through all the records?
BLACK: Well, Wolf, that’s an excellent question. A lot of people ask this all the time. You know what? We have a right of privacy in this country that I think is important for us to hold onto. I mean, we could let prosecutors and police into our bedrooms, search our computers, watch us having sex. We could let them do all these things, but then we would have a police state. We would no longer have a democracy. I think it’s very important to fight these privacy battles—and Rush Limbaugh has taken on this battle of privacy with your doctor, and I think it has really been a public service for him. Not only for himself but everybody else who wants their medical records and medical treatment kept private and not to be disclosed in the press or with the police or prosecutors or anyone else who has no business being there.
Race you for the gutter.
(Hat tip to Merlot Democrats)