Friday, May 12, 2006

63% Of You Are Sheep

I have two problems with the NSA program of collecting records of all telephone calls, and I don't think either one of them has occurred to the majority of Americans who seem to be telling pollsters they have no problem with it.

First, I think there's no logical reason, if the President's argument is accepted, why he *couldn't* randomly tap into domestic telephone conversations (or have computers tap into all of them), if he believed it was in the national interest. I find that extremely troubling.

Second, there's...more » absolutely no guarantee that the information the NSA gathers will be used *only* to hunt down terrorists. Until now, the very secrecy of the program acted as a sort of rough guarantee aganst its abuse. But if it's acknowledged that the program exists, and the public signals that it's O.K. with that, then the government can use the information it gathers for any purpose at all.

I predict it won't be long at all before the database's use is expanded to broader and broader classes of criminal investigations. Eventually, it could end up being used for *all* of them. Or even just to get them started. The Administration could even end up using unrestricted surveillance as a tool for tripping up its political opponents.

And THAT, I have a huge problem problem with. I could almost tolerate this program if I could be absolutely certain that the information gathered would only ever be used to investigate terrorists, and that it would never be expanded to include other types of information. But the Administration is claiming that the President has unlimited authority and can do whatever he likes.

That's an argument that we simply can't afford to tolerate.

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