About Me

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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Surveillance Hearings

Yesterday, the Senate began hearing on the Bush Administration's latest attempt to justify unchecked executive power in the name of "The War on Terror."

Ironically, the man sworn to be the highest law enforcement official in our country, the Attorney General, is the one saying things like "We believe it's not illegal." Since when did legality come down to a question of belief? There's this law, see. It says "In order to wiretap Americans phone calls you need to go to a special FISA court and get a warrant."

Now, FISA almost never says no. Also, you can apply for a warrant AFTER you have performed the action, so it's not like you have to stand around with your Presidential Thumb Up Your Almighty Bum while you wait for Terrorists to make plans. But apparently, the Bush team decided that this law didn't work for them, so they essentially decided that they had to break it, out of either laziness or arrogance.

Now, if what they're doing doesn't work within the law, there are two things that need to be asked... 1) Should the law be adjusted to allow for new methods or 2) should they NOT be doing what is not allowed by this law, no matter their opinion of the situation.

Either you abide by the law, or you don't. This is the Bush creed.

Take their lies, for example. They are careful (or have been in the past) not to lie while under oath. That means whenever they have been questioned on a particularly dicey subject (like the 9/11 Commission) they do so in complete media blackout while NOT under oath.

Why would they do this? Because it's not against the law to lie. It's against the law to lie under oath. They nailed Clinton about lying under oath and had the man impeached.

Bush had the gall to stand before the press and say "I DID break the law, and no one can stop me, because this country is only as free as I allow it to be."

If we take that lying down, the frail illusion of representative government and laws that matter to ALL Americans will be utterly shattered.

Bush has no shame. We have to shame him.


arcticactor said...

I love how the Bush kiddies are trying to morph the leftover indignation from the Valerie Plame affair by making the wiretap debate about whomever broke this story. As if to say (as Gonzales did yesterday): "Well, Osama must be happy now that some eager-beaver truth-seeking journalist announced our double-secret spying tactics!" As though Bin Laden were calling collect from his cave and we blew it.

The real question is: which American citizens require such secret surveillance that even ultra-secret courts buried a half-mile beneath the Pentagon (FISA) can't be trusted to know their identities? Unless someone in the Administration provides an answer, we're left with only one option: political enemies of Bush, Cheney, et al.

This all sounds so familiar ...

They can't use that Ticking Time Bomb Scenario this time becase, as you noted, FISA already makes provision for emergency taps.

What exasperates me is how the Administration weasels out of yesterday's horror by providing a new one each month.

Anonymous said...

The power in question has been used by nearly every other preseident in the past. It's a Constitutional authority.

Freeman said...

Thank you for that ridiculous assertion, Anonymous.

How many is "nearly other." Was that before or after the FISA court came to being once the secret NSA was discovered wiretapping Americans under Nixon?

david d. said...

And how exactly did Chester Arthur listen in on private conversations? With a glass against the door? Was there widespread telegraph monitoring by later administrations?