25 - student - NYC That's all for now.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Administrative Difficulties: Why Harper's Has it Right

Lewis Lapham writes a compelling argument in the March issue of Harper's calling for Bush's impeachment. I'm particularly interested in the following two, what I would term unforgiveable, scandals.

NSA Surveillance and AIPAC - I am following these stories with a growing and unbelieving morbid fascination, as though I am watching some horrid scene but can't drag my eyes away. And perhaps I am.

The first story I refer to is the developing drama over the recently revealed NSA wiretapping program that, at least facially, seems to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). The second story refers to the administration's ongoing Espionage Act prosecution of two former lobbyists from AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) for revealing classified information to reporters and foreign officials. I will be following this post with detailed digressions on each of these stories, so primarily here I just want to discuss their frightening, overarching theme.

And that theme is POWER and ABUSE. This administration is shameless in its attitude toward the Constitution and the rule of law. Here is a government that spies on its citizens while ignoring a statute, FISA, specifically designed to protect that privacy and those civil liberties. And then here is a government who seeks to prosecute those individuals implicated in leaking AND REPORTING that illegal activity by the government. Although the AIPAC case does not specifically relate to the NSA program, it is intimately tied up with the administration's war on truth. The government is threatening the lifeblood of investigative journalism - leaked information - and the AIPAC prosecution represents an incredible inroad against the protections afforded by the First Amendment. Prosecuting individuals for relaying leaked information - individuals who never promised to keep the information classified in the first place - individuals who didn't even know specifically what information was classified - individuals who were basically DOING THEIR JOB? THAT IS WHAT REPORTERS DO. The AIPAC prosecution represents a stunning attack on the freedom of the press - an attack that is only just now starting to motivate some commentary in the mainstream media (the blogosphere has contributed to most of my knowledge about it).

Anyway, my aim is to do a somewhat detailed analysis of these two current events drawing mainly from information I am culling from the currently active dialogue between the internet Left and Right - although I'm sure my own predilections and bias are quite clear. My first aim, will be to describe in short and then tackle the hypocrisy and absurdity that A-G Gonzales calls the "Terrorist Surveillance Program."


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