Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quick question

As news reports of the past couple of days have it,
[a] review by top U.S. government investigators says a secret surveillance program approved by President George W. Bush after the September 11 terror attacks got too little legal review when it started.

The program included wiretaps without court approval and some unprecedented intelligence collection efforts. ...

The report was published Friday by five inspectors general of agencies with intelligence responsibilities: the Defense and Justice Departments, along with the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
This is the question I have: Why are people still acting as if this crap having been illegal is some dramatic new discovery? Why is it that every time it's shown anew that the Shrub gang was a bunch of power-hungry thugs who thought the law didn't apply to them, the media greets it with gasps of astonishment? The only explanation I have is institutional Alzheimer's: These people have faulty memories and limited insight.

Footnote: There was an important bit in this, however:
The report concludes information gathered by the secret program played a limited role in the FBI's overall counterterrorism efforts. The report also says very few CIA analysts knew about the program and could not fully use it in their counterterrorism work.
In other words, it was not only illegal, it didn't even do a flaming bit of good even on its own terms.

Which raises the real question anew: Not was it illegal, it was. Already asked, already answered. The real question is was it about security? Or about power?

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