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How would a patriot act? Like an unfettered tyrant, apparently.

July 29, 2011

If you want to despise the Bush administration (and every administration since Johnson) more than you already do, I highly recommend reading Glenn Greenwald’s How Would a Patriot Act?

Fun fact (and by fun, I mean depressing): since the creation of FISA courts in 1978 through 2001, the courts received 13,102 requests for warrants to eavesdrop on Americans. The courts approved all 13,102 requests, and modified the requested warrant on 2 occasions. 99.98% of requests were approved with no changes.

The FISA courts were to provide oversight: At least one federal judge would be aware of the eavesdropping to ensure the wiretaps were legitimate (I have doubts about the legitimacy of 99.98% of requests, but let’s ignore that).

The Bush administration began secretly wiretapping communications in October 2001, unbeknownst to anyone outside the administration.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allowed government surveillance to carry forth without intelligence agents obtaining a warrant ex ante, provided the warrant is obtained within 24 hours (Congress modified FISA in 2001 via the Patriot Act to extend that period to 72 hours) during peacetime; during wartime, that window extended to 15 calendar days.

Ignoring the fact that Bush and many in his administration lied under oath to Congress (e.g. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, in all likelihood James A. Baker, among many others), the blatant ease with which legal wiretaps are available for approval (99.98% without modification, 100% for approval), the administration’s warrantless wiretapping fails to limit itself to classification as illegitimate, but blatantly unethical and unconstitutional.

All in the name of security and freedom.

Naturally, the Obama administration perpetuates the program. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

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