Brick by Brick
Bully for Glenn Greenwald:
Knight Ridder — WASHINGTON – A July 2002 Justice Department statement to a Senate committee appears to contradict several key arguments that the Bush administration is making to defend its eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without court warrants.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law governing such operations, was working well, the department said in 2002. A "significant review" would be needed to determine whether FISA’s legal requirements for obtaining warrants should be loosened because they hampered counterterrorism efforts, the department said then.
President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other top officials now argue that warrantless eavesdropping is necessary in part because complying with the FISA law is too burdensome and impedes the government’s ability to rapidly track communications between suspected terrorists.
In its 2002 statement, the Justice Department said it opposed a legislative proposal to change FISA to make it easier to obtain warrants that would allow the super-secret National Security Agency to listen in on communications involving non-U.S. citizens inside the United States.
Today, senior U.S. officials complain that FISA prevents them from doing that.
Glenn Greenwald, an Internet blogger, first connected the earlier Justice Department statement to the Bush administration’s current arguments on his Web log, called Unclaimed Territory.
While we don’t have billions or a warmongering diapered class who piddle themselves every time George Bush screams "orange alert," we sure do have a corner on the smart kids.