Sunday, February 5

Wartime Executive Power Hearing

I've been at the computer listening the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings today.

It's not the wire tapping that bothers me. Well, it does. They keep fighting over whether it is "domestic" surveillance or not. Is it not domestic if only half the folks are located in the U.S.? If you are out of the U.S., are you suddenly not governed by our laws and ideals? (Okay, yes, apparently that is how we function.) Do I think that if they believe that there is an immediate risk, should they wire tap? Probably. But that is why we have these systems of checks and balances. That is why FISA is there. I have yet to hear a reason why the 72 hours FISA gives them to get a warrant is not enough time except that it is a pain in the ass.

My problems with the Bush administrations actions:
- The argument about executive power granted in a time of war. "In time of war." When do we decide that we are NOT in a time of war? Who decides? Will there be anytime that our country is so well loved in the world that no one will be plotting against us? If so, is there no time limit on wartime executive power?
-That the checks and balances are being placed in the hands of members of the NSA, with little or no oversight.
-If the administration thought the FISA was too restrictive, why did they not ask Congress for adjustments to FISA? They have done it before. They have changed FISA often. The argument has been that in a time of war, the executive branch just doesn't need to. The only reason I can come up with why they didn’t is that they knew Congress wouldn't do it. But we don't know because we don't know how big the program is and what type of information they are acting on.
-Gonzales keeps saying that he cannot comment on things the President hasn't yet confirmed. Huh? Perhaps it is just legalize and perhaps I am just feeling paranoid, but that seems to say to me that the President has only confirmed those things that have been exposed. Meaning that there are programs that have been exposed. Well of course that is true.
-That this argument is yet another step down the slippery slope. If this is allowed, with no oversight, what other powers can be conveyed? Torture? Assassinations? Camps? Tossing the First Amendment out the window? Canceling or manipulation of elections? Yes, I realize these are extreme, but it's a slope.

Why am I writing about this? I just feel this need to speak up. I listened to a program about the German theologian Dietrich_Bonhoeffer yesterday. It just got me thinking about adding one's voice.