Monday, October 13, 2008

From where y'all sit I guess no harm applies then

The Mobile Press-Register might have some competition in the "nothing to see here, move along" category. Morris Communication's Augusta Chronicle responds to ABC's Brian Ross, Vic Walter, and Anna Schecter's Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans: U.S. Officers' "Phone Sex" Intercepted; Senate Demanding Answers with No harm, no law broken?: New eavesdropping allegations don't sound alarms from where we sit. They opine:

To be sure, radical leftists and extreme libertarians will try to make the most of the story, which ABC News broke last Thursday. The scary but exaggerated tale seems designed to heap more hate and abuse on the Bush administration just before next month's election than to expose some grave new danger to our civil liberties.

Read beyond the hyperventilating headlines and you find that NSA's eavesdropping operation was not about gathering masses of private information on law-abiding Americans. It was to listen in on those suspected of terrorism or terrorist ties. The operation was confined to calls from the Mideast. This took place, after all, right after 9-11 when everyone was on pins and needles.

Perhaps some Army officers and civilian aid workers that had their private and often intimate conversations listened to would feel a little more troubled? Given that Bu$hCo repeatedly and seemingly shameless lied and continues to lie about the scope of the NSA program aren't they due a little hate and abuse? Finally, the reporting surely shows occurrences well beyond the immediate aftermath of 9-11.

The illegality seems more suspect to me as well given that American citizens were involved on both ends of some calls. Still, I'll pass on the claim that the new law wasn't in effect except to say I thought past practices far more restrictive. Certainly intelligence gathering is a critical facet of defense, law enforcement, and the like. Yet doing this within the scope of balanced, legal methods is foundational.

Oversight might not occur until after Bu$hCo (and even more of his Rubber Stamp Republicans it seems given current polling!) leaves the building but even with all the challenges facing our leaders I do hope they'll take the time to explore the many abuses of power and downright stupidity we've seen during this Reign of Error.

As for Morris Communications, the Augusta Chronicle, ... I can only offer that my impression of that neck of the woods has often been rather right leaning. I have some family up there and don't know exactly what their politics might be. I just hope they aren't among the vast majority of commentators to this editorial.

It might depend of where one sits yet I'd like to think I'll get up and wander about before making up my mind. And even then, as any decent liberal should do, I'll hold my beliefs tenuously and generally subject to change and progression. For the time, however, being count me among the "radical leftists and extreme libertarians". John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Immediately after posting this I noticed ABC breaking news of the mistress scandal troubling Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney down in Florida. Given that the Augusta Chronicle editorial flirted with, and multiple commentators then ran with, the idea that ABC is part of the liberal media after the GOP it seems odd that they'd report this story. Note that Vic Walter is involved with both stories. Perhaps he's some type of double agent working for (or against?) the great socialist takeover?

No comments: