Wednesday, July 09, 2008

writing to the radio

Most broadcast programs have done a less than spectacular job covering the Bush Administration’s illegal domestic surveillance programs or the ongoing fight over FISA revisions. Sadly, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer has been part of the poorly informed pack. I am hoping that the appearance today, in the 10am EDT hour, of Glenn Greenwald will help improve matters some, but with a vote on final passage of a terrible bill possible at any hour, it is most certainly too little too late.

With all that in mind, though, I was still inspired to shoot off this e-mail to Mr. Lehrer (much) earlier this morning:

In listening to the late night broadcast of the Tuesday show, I was quite surprised by Brain's remark that it was news to him to hear that the illegal domestic surveillance program was initiated by the Bush Administration prior to the attacks of 9/11. This was suspected for some time, and was confirmed during the trial last year of Qwest head Joseph Nacchio. Such information has previously been reported in the Rocky Mountain News and the New York Times, and discussed on To The Point (which WNYC aired daily prior to last week).

I, myself, have been writing about this for much of the last year (I humbly ask that you read a few of these posts, listed here. In those posts, I link to more reports about pre-9/11 domestic surveillance and some of its possible targets.), and I am sure that one as expert as your guest Glenn Greenwald would be happy to shed more light on the subject if asked.

Believe me, I hate even sounding vaguely like a conspiracy theorist, but I am well within the mainstream with my belief that the Bush Administration’s illegal domestic surveillance program is not and has never been primarily about keeping us safe from foreign terrorists. Senators Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd, Ron Wyden, and Ted Kennedy have expressed similar doubts. So have NYT reporters Risen and Lichtblau. Mr. Greenwald and many other very prominent bloggers have plumbed the depths of this subject, as has Wired magazine and Editor and Publisher.

The ACLU’s legislative director, Caroline Fredrickson, protested the speciousness of administration arguments for expanded spy capabilities with minimal oversight back when it became apparent that the NSA started domestic spying early in 2001, “How then will that keep us safer if 9/11 followed the expanded capability?”

There are many, many problems with this FISA "fix"--not just retroactive immunity for the telcos and the Bush Administration--but the fact that it codifies a program that was started, illegally, mind you, before 9/11/01 proves this to be a capitulation, and not a compromise. We already had a working FISA law when the Bush team took over, with provisions for surveillance in advance of a hearing, and a super-secret court that almost always approved executive branch requests. Yet, the White House still went outside the system, and did so when it had demonstrably little interest in the likes of al Qaeda. It makes you want to ask: what then is all this spying for? That a Democratic Congress--and now, the Democratic Party's presumptive standard bearer--would choose political convenience over asking this one tough question is both disheartening and disturbing.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home