The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Wire tapping of citizens shows abuse of power

By Robert Barowski/ne news editor

   One of the biggest political issues the country has had to deal with and listen to for the past few weeks is the legality or lack thereof of President Bush’s domestic spying program.
   Utilizing technology to wire tap American citizens’ phone calls without consent of our other elected officials is wrong, and Bush needs to be punished for his actions.
   The Washington Post reported that President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 to allow the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on citizens and foreign nationals in the country, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying.
   The New York Times reported that the NSA, typically barred from spying in most instances, has monitored the e-mail, telephone calls and other communications of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people under the program.
   President Bush offered no apologies for instituting the program, saying he started the program to protect the nation from terrorists.
   His actions sound a lot like the actions taken by another man who occupied the White House, Richard Nixon.
   Nixon abused the power of the Executive Branch of the government and was impeached for his actions. He, of course, resigned the office of the presidency.
   Nixon misused the FBI, the Secret Service and other executive personnel in violation of or disregard for the constitutional rights of citizens by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations.
   Sounds familiar. President Bush is living proof that history does in fact repeat itself.
   A result of Nixon’s abuse of power was the creation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a program designed to require the government to obtain judicial authorization for electronic surveillance and physical search of persons engaged in espionage or international terrorism against the United States.
   President Bush never asked for permission and has violated the FISA. His program gathered information by screening calls that mentioned several key words, phrases or patterns.
   By using that method, just mentioning jihad could turn the NSA on someone, even if that person were just casually talking about something seen on CNN.
   No one in this country wants to see the terrorists win or give them loopholes in our legal system. However, President Bush has taken measures to fight this undeclared war that crosses the line of legality.
   The Founders of this country built a system of checks and balances into the Constitution to ensure that no branch of the government became too powerful. The Executive Branch must be checked in this instance.
   Bush has said his aides briefed Congress on the wiretaps. They briefed eight members out of 535 and then swore them to secrecy. That is not how the government is supposed to work.
   America is supposed to be the land of the free; we are supposed to have free speech. Now, let’s keep it that way.

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