Saturday, February 11, 2006

Jimmy Carter allowed surveillance in 1977

Former President Jimmy Carter, who publicly rebuked President Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program this week during the funeral of Coretta Scott King and at a campaign event, used similar surveillance against suspected spies. "Under the Bush administration, there's been a disgraceful and illegal decision — we're not going to the let the judges or the Congress or anyone else know that we're spying on the American people," Mr. Carter said Monday in Nevada when his son Jack announced his Senate campaign. "And no one knows how many innocent Americans have had their privacy violated under this secret act," he said. The next day at Mrs. King's high-profile funeral, Mr. Carter evoked a comparison to the Bush policy when referring to the "secret government wiretapping" of civil rights leader Martin Luther King. But in 1977, Mr. Carter and his attorney general, Griffin B. Bell, authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam. The men, Truong Dinh Hung and Ronald Louis Humphrey, challenged their espionage convictions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which unanimously ruled that the warrantless searches did not violate the men's rights. In its opinion, the court said the executive branch has the "inherent authority" to wiretap enemies such as terror plotters and is excused from obtaining warrants when surveillance is "conducted 'primarily' for foreign intelligence reasons."

There's more at: Stop the ACLU; Captain's Quarters; Rhymes with Right; There is a great discussion going on at All Things Beautiful about the issue of surveillence and 'America's Useful Idiots'. We, as Americans, are facing an enemy we haven't really clearly defined in our consciousness. We have been dividing into camps about how to deal with this enemy. Some don't even acknowledge there is an enemy and continue to insist we aren't really at war. Some work hard to minimalize the threat we are faced with. I'm afraid our enemy is at war with us, whether we admit it or not. I worry about how far they are going to have to go to get our full attention. Most of us know that the screaming and moaning about the suveillance issue right now is just the lastest attempt to discredit our President in the eye of the public. It's just politics. So some are playing politics with the future of our country. More personally, with the lives of our Soldiers. It makes me think of Nero fiddlin' while Rome burns.