Obama fights to keep unconstitutional warrantless wiretapping powers

By End the Lie

Continuity of agenda anyone? (Photo credit: Getty Images)

So much for change. The Obama administration is continuing their efforts to go back on every single campaign promise and beyond all odds make themselves look even worse than the administration of George W. Bush.

Personally, I didn’t think such a thing was possible but with the extrajudicial killing of Americans, refusal to explain why they think they can engage in such activities (multiple times, no less), the passing the radically un-American National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA), and so much more, Obama is doing a great job at proving me wrong.

Now to continue this trend, Barack Obama has instructed the Justice Department to defend the warrantless wiretapping policy first introduced under George W. Bush.

In response, just last week the Department of Justice filed papers with the Supreme Court seeking to overturn a decision from an appeals court which allowed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to continue.

This suit challenged the constitutionality of a law passed in 2008 which gave the American government what had previously been an unprecedented amount of power to snoop on American citizens without any semblance of probable cause.

Of course the NDAA, signed into law by Obama, makes this look tame, as now they can just snatch you up in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again, based on nothing more than a suspicion.

The warrantless wiretapping began soon after the attacks on September 11, 2001, a time which allowed for a great deal of draconian, unconstitutional legislation to be pushed through while the American people were still cowering in fear.

At the time many people were thoroughly frightened of the al Qaeda boogeyman who the government and media quickly blamed the attacks on, although since then things have changed considerably.

Now a great deal of the American public has come to question the official story, although there is far from a consensus on the issue as of yet. I honestly believe that it will be many years before we can approach such a point.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Bush ordered the National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept and monitor the telephone calls of Americans without any warrants which were not only required under the Constitution of the United States but also the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

FISA, created in response to the Watergate scandal, was supposedly intended to limit domestic surveillance, although I think we all know that claims is laughable.

FISA created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a special court intended to review all requests for domestic surveillance.

Between the years of 1978 and 1992 Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush together presented some 7,030 applications to FISC, all of which were approved.

Bill Clinton presented 6,057 in his eight year tenure and only two of them were not approved as-is. One was rejected and the other was modified.

Under George W. Bush, FISC bucked the previous trend somewhat, rejecting six requests and modifying another 179.

Bush was clearly infuriated by the FISC judges’ unwillingness to do whatever he wanted, thus leading to his move to completely circumvent FISC by entirely bypassing the law, instead ordering the NSA to conduct the illegal, unconstitutional wiretapping practices in secret.

Once the program was outed in 2005 by the New York Times, the Bush administration attempted to backpedal and get FISC approval.

When his attempts fell short, he then instead went to Congress in an attempt to get them to permit the previously prohibited practice of warrantless wiretapping. He did this through passing the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which he signed into law on July 10 of 2008.

Less than an hour after, the ACLU jumped into action and challenged the act, which is set to expire at the end of 2012.

In March of last year, the appeals court ruled in favor of the ACLU and reinstated their lawsuit which challenged the legality of the FISA Amendments Act.

In the decision, the court rejected the argument put forth by the Obama administration which claimed that the court should dismiss the case simply because the ACLU’s clients could not prove that their communications would be collected under the FISA Amendments Act.

Writing for AllGov, Matt Bewig and David Wallechinsky state this argument “was true largely because the law creates great secrecy around the wiretaps in the first place – a true ‘Catch-22.’”

Indeed the American government has become increasingly reliant on pervasive secrecy in order to cover their unconstitutional, illegal and often highly immoral actions.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has exploited secrecy to an extreme which even George W. Bush couldn’t hold a candle to.

I guess that’s what America gets for being naïve enough to vote for someone approved by the political establishment promising real change. I see it somewhat like people who are ignorant enough to actually play the slots in Vegas. Sure, they promise large payouts but if you know what you’re up against you’ll never be stupid enough to throw away your money when you’re aware of the infinitesimal chances of coming out on top.

Hopefully the Obama presidency will serve as proof that you can never, under any circumstances, no matter how charismatic and intelligent they may seem, trust a politician.

If we continue to fall for these political tricks we will only see more abuses of power and exploitation of secrecy, all working towards solidifying the American police state and the Big Brother surveillance grid to the point where it is impossible to resist.

Once the NDAA comes into effect, we very well might already be at that point – as hard as it is to accept such a thing as reality, we might not have a choice.

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