Friday, October 19, 2007

establishment media perpetuates myth of warrantless surveillance-9/11 link

Really, enough with this fairy tale already. If the events of last week involving the statements of former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio have taught you nothing, perhaps you should go back and read some of the press from early 2006, or, perhaps, James Risen’s book. But no matter which of these sources you read, you should come away with the same understanding: The Bush Administration began collecting phone and e-mail data without a warrant and/or began eavesdropping on US citizens inside the country without a warrant before the attacks of September 11, 2001. Surveillance might—might—have increased after 9/11, but it is now increasingly clear there was plenty going on from the earliest days of Bush-Cheney rule.

Bizarrely, reporters like Ellen Nakashima and Shailagh Murray of the Washington Post insist on perpetuating the administration-friendly myth that the rampant use of warrantless surveillance was a reaction to the 9/11 attacks.

[The new Senate surveillance bill] would further give some telecommunications companies immunity from about 40 pending lawsuits that charge them with violating Americans' privacy and constitutional rights by aiding a Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program instituted after September 2001. That provision is a key concession to the administration and companies, which lobbied heavily for the provision.

Such fiction tends to buttress White House claims that this usurped and illegal power is a tool for fighting terrorism instead of something much more sinister. With Democrats like Jay Rockefeller (WV) knuckling under to administration demands on retroactive immunity and blanket warrants, the modern security state really doesn’t need any help from the press. So, Ellen, Shailagh, do your homework, and knock it off!

(cross-posted at The Seminal)

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